Duval Schools Police opens 20 positions to replace JSO stand-ins

  • A state requirement mandates police or guardian presence at every Florida public school
  • Duval Schools Police Department doesn’t have enough members to guard every district elementary school
  • JSO officers are filling in the holes for now, but it’s not a long term solution
  • Duval Schools first tried hiring guardians, but now are pivoting, adding 20 higher paid safety officer positions

Across town, vans wrapped with information about joining the Duval Schools Police Department drive around. 

It’s part of a months-long effort to recruit, train and hire 20 new school safety officers to be placed in elementary schools across Jacksonville by August.

The new officer recruits will help fill voids from a failed 2018 plan to hire more than 100 armed school safety assistants, along with some departures after recent controversies. 

In 2018 the school district aimed to hire armed safety assistants to stand post at all 103 of the district’s elementary schools. School safety assistants, also known as guardians, do not have the same jurisdiction as police officers or higher-ranking school safety officers. They are paid $12.90 per hour during the 10-month school year in Duval County and receive significantly less training than school safety officers or police officers.