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Sarasota Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2018 2 months ago

Sarasota County Schools hires police chief

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Grohowski previously led community college's four-campus security team in California.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

Paul Grohowski, the former director of security and chief of police for a community college district in California, has been named chief of police for Sarasota County Schools’ in-house police force, the school district said today.

Grohowski will report to Michael Andreas, the school district’s executive director of public safety and eventually supervise three sergeants and 21-24 officers. The district is assembling its team this summer but will likely contract with local law enforcement for at least part of the 2018-19 school year to position officers in all of its schools.

At Allan Hancock Community College, Grohowski was responsible for the overall safety of 22,000 students on four campuses in Santa Barbara County.

 Grohowski earned his master's degree in Public Administration and bachelor's degree in Professional Administration from Barry University in Miami. He also received an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice from Indian River State College in Ft. Pierce. He has additional training from a variety of law enforcement agencies.

He was also a finalist for the police chief's job in North Port.

"I am thrilled to announce the selection of Paul Grohowski as Chief of Police," said Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools in a prepared statement. "His skills and tenure in the law enforcement profession are a perfect match for someone to lead the police department, and we are delighted to welcome such as seasoned law enforcement professional to our school district." 

The School Board approved at a May 1 meeting the job descriptions for a chief of police and police sergeant. At the May 15 meeting, job descriptions were approved for the executive director of safety, security and emergency management and school resource officer.

The total cost for the two-year implementation of a new police force is projected at $3.1 million. Within that figure is budgeted $500,000 for non-salary allocations, such as equipment. 

Under new school safety legislation, enacted weeks after the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, the district (and all others in the state) are  responsible for funding all school security measures.

"As a father, I am keenly aware of the fear children face going to school every day in these unprecedented times and share the concerns of every loving parent who places their trust in us,'' Grohowski said in a statement released by the school district.

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