A private firm will take over crossing guard duties for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office this year.
The Sheriff’s Office has signed a two-year deal with an additional two-year extension for $251,280 annually with Staffing Connection/Action Labor to provide between 30 and 35 crossing guards per school day, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Wendy Rose. Current employees will have the opportunity to transition into positions with the private company if they want to remain crossing guards.
“This is not a cost saving measure as much as it is about putting the appropriate resources in place,” Rose said. “A staffing firm has a greater pool of available candidates for this part-time position.”
Previously, when a crossing guard called in sick, a deputy would have to fill the position for the day, taking an officer of the street during hours before and after school.
"The staffing of school crossing guard positions is better suited for a private labor agency than as a function of a law enforcement agency as it has been in the past," said Sheriff Tom Knight in a news release. "To continue to provide a high level of service to our community, we believe this is the best solution for the children of Sarasota County."