Two uniformed Bay County Sheriff Deputies are now employees of the Bay District School Board and the Sheriff’s office wanted to make sure the guys backing up the board and citizens are some of the best. The two deputies stood on either side of the board room at Tuesday’s meeting and deputies in plain clothes blended in with the crowd. Major Tommy Ford is with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is a very high profile event that happened and it’s important that people are secure and people feel secure and I think the steps we’ve taken will accomplish that,” said Ford.
He says those steps were taken at request of the school board.
“We agreed on right now to pay 2 deputies $25 dollars an hour, and we certainly have the option to make adjustments to that to ensure the safety of the citizens and the school board,” Ford said.
If needed, those adjustments will be made. Ford says the deputies in uniform will alternate duties and there’s a possibility of increased security if needed.
“If we don’t switch things up, at least have the perception that, ‘Oh, gosh there can be three more of them in plain clothes sitting in the audience,’ so from our tactical perspective, the less information we put out the more it would serve as a deterrent,” Ford said.
The deputies inside the room are off-duty and are part of the Sheriff’s S.W.A.T. team and R.O.G.U.E unit. Rogue is short for “Repeat Offenders Gang Unit”
“We have kind of hand-picked the people that we’ve got in there,” Ford added.
Major Ford says the off-duty deputies from the R.O.G.U.E. unit and S.W.A.T. team are the best bet for inside the board room, not only because of their availability to work daytime hours but because of the level of training they’ve received to do their jobs.
“They are prepared to handle any situation that may come up,” Ford said.
So from extensive tactical training to additional firearm skills, these guys in green will continue to protect. Ford says from here on out and in every school board meeting, there will be at least two uniformed deputies. If there is a threat or if the school board asks, more deputies will be present.