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Sheriff's Office creates its School Resource Department Staff

Posted 7/4/24

FLEMING ISLAND —   When the School Safety and Youth Programs Department staff met on Thursday, June 27, three of eight staff sergeants and lieutenants were conspicuously dressed in suits and …

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Sheriff's Office creates its School Resource Department Staff


Posted

FLEMING ISLAND — When the School Safety and Youth Programs Department staff met on Thursday, June 27, three of eight staff sergeants and lieutenants were conspicuously dressed in suits and ties instead of sheriff’s office khaki greens.

That all changed three days later on July 1, when they officially moved from the Clay County District Schools Police Department to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

The three — former CCSDPD Chief Kenneth Wagner, Jacob Saunders, and Mark Romano — are part of the sheriff’s office's organizational staff. Wagner is a lieutenant; Saunders and Romano are sergeants.

Other department leaders are Director Patrick Golemme, Assistant Chief Jeremy Clark, Lt. Michael Kircher and Sgts. Michael Campbell and Andrew Koeler.

“The culture of our agency, the morale of our agency, is really driven by the sergeants and lieutenants, period,” Sheriff Michelle Cook said. “And I’m thrilled to look at this group because I know the kind of people you are. I know your personality, staying positive, holding people accountable, and working with all the young members of our agency.

“So you talk about what kind of agency we want to be five, 10, 15 years now, and it’s right here in this room with all of you. I don’t want you to forget the impact you will have on people’s lives.”

CCSO officially assumed responsibility for placing a deputy in every public school on July 1. The school board decided in 2019 to create a police force in 2019 in response to the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. Last October, board member Erin Skipper suggested that the district use the sheriff’s office because “we’re in the business of education, not law enforcement.”

The school board voted in November to disband its police department and put CCSO deputies back in its schools. The sheriff’s office hired 25 of the former district police officers.

Teachers will return to their classrooms on Aug. 5, and students’ first school day will be Aug. 13.