Parker Calls for "Deputized Marshals"
With a contentious school safety meeting upcoming this week for the Brevard School Board, one candidate for a board seat is floating an idea he calls “a sensible middle way.”
Charles Parker, who is running for the open District 2 seat, said over the weekend that he believes it is not an either/or proposition to meet the state mandate to have an enhanced armed presence on Brevard’s school grounds – either hiring new deputies or arming school employees.
“I propose that we institute what could be called a Deputized Marshal program,” Parker said. “We could negotiate with Sheriff Ivey to hire and train qualified individuals to protect the schools that do not currently have School Resource Officers.
“These individuals would not be full deputies so they would not need radio cars and other equipment required for deputies, but they would not be current school employees either. Hence, they would not cost as much and we would not have all the concerns and logistics problems that have been raised regarding the arming of school staff.”
He added that they could possibly be 10-month employees or could be used in the summer months for additional duties, such as parking enforcement or event security.
“I don’t plan on taking valuable community input time during the school board meeting on Tuesday to offer this solution,” Parker said. “But I will email these comments to the members, the sheriff, and the superintendent for their consideration.”
Parker said that pooling state money that has been allocated for SROs and marshals, plus using “extra” funding originally allocated for choice busing, will be more than enough to fund this type of program.
“This mitigates the money issue that BPS staff has worried about and eases Sheriff Ivey’s manpower problem,” Parker added. “It seems it should be easier and more cost-effective to train and hire deputized marshals than full-fledged deputy sheriffs.”
Parker, who currently runs a choice program at Merritt Island High School, said that while regional busing would help his and other programs by offering students more options, now is not the right time.
"The new busing is slated to cost $5.3 million," Parker said. "Add that to the $2.4 million from the state and you've got plenty of money. We don't need to raise taxes or go into more debt.
"I know some of that funding is non-recurring. But this can buy us a year or two and then we can have a robust and wide-ranging debate on how to continue to enhance protection for our children and employees.”