School Resource Division
The School Resource Deputy Program is a proactive, innovative, problem-solving approach to assist in reducing crime by assigning specially trained certified Deputy Sheriff's to each middle school, freshman campus and high school in the county. The program follows a national trend to responding to the increase of violence on school campus to not only students but to school administration. The goal is to offer a safe environment so students can learn and achieve without the fear of violence.
The SRD program is a nationally accepted program involving the placement of a law enforcement officer within the educational environment. The officer's role is more, that being a very active high profile law enforcement officer and includes being a resource for other law enforcement officers, detectives, family services investigators, students, parents, teachers and school administration regarding law related issues.
While the primary duty is to reduce crime and violence in the schools, SRD's often find themselves teaching classes, counseling students and being a mentor to students at school. Besides working with individual students, SRD's also assist in community policing in the area surrounding the school. Some examples of community policing problem solving involve traffic issues, noise complaints, drug sales and safety in nearby parks and business areas.
The presence of a uniformed Deputy Sheriff provides a deterrent to criminal activity by discouraging unwanted and undesirable visitors on the school grounds or in the surrounding area.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office has five school resource deputies, a sergeant and a lieutenant, covering ten schools including elementary schools in the county. The deputies are assigned to a school to be a direct link between the schools and any issue that may need the assistance of law enforcement.