ENGLEWOOD — School security was a primary concern at the Englewood East Property & Homeowners Association meeting Wednesday at the Tringali Center.
Charles Lindberg, one of 36 attendees, asked the guest speaker, Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell, why there aren’t more school resource officers in Charlotte County schools.
“I know there’s a push to try to put school resource officers at all the schools since (the shootings at) Sandy Hook, but current budget conditions won’t allow it,” Prummell said. “If we put a deputy at every school in the county, I would have to cut resources out of programs we already need.
“If I were to put more into the school resource officer program, I need to have the deputies participate in more education programs. They’re not glorified security officers. They’re there to help education programs.”
Prummell said there was a school resource officer present at Sandy Hook Elementary, but little could have been done to stop the shootings.
Lindberg said he wanted to know how Prummell’s budget was structured; if it was tied to Charlotte County commissioner funding.
Prummell responded that while he can put the budget together, funding is based on needs addressed to commissioners from residents, not from his department.
Englewood resident Jean Anderson asked how much training the department has had on interacting with the mentally ill.
“We partnered up with Charlotte Behavior Center in conducting Crisis Intervention Team training,” Prummell said.
When Anderson asked about the stop-and-frisk law, Prummell reminded the crowd there has to be reasonable suspicion a crime has been committed or else they infringe on people’s rights.
Englewood resident Bruce Pomeroy asked if enough was being done for the young people in the community.
“Several organizations in the county help the youth,” Prummell said. “The problem is to convince the kids to participate.”
Prummell said while programs are available, parents need to take a more assertive role in their children’s lives. Prummell discussed an incident when a child was unruly and a parent called police twice out of fear of being accused of abuse and taken to jail.
“I said, ‘Ma’am, you do what you have to,’” Prummell said. “We didn’t get a call from her again that night. There are lots of misconceptions about corporal punishment. You can discipline your child, but there are limits.”
Prummell said the sheriff’s office is usually OK with how parents discipline their children and not to be squeamish with them. Law enforcement agencies will only intervene in extreme cases, he said.