School Year Starts With Only Nine Escambia District Armed Campus Security Officers

August 13, 2019

The school year Monday started with fewer members of the Escambia County School District’s armed campus security officers (CSOs) than had been anticipated, but every school in the county had armed security on campus Monday, according to Superintendent Malcolm Thomas

Thomas said 18 people took part in the first CSO class, but only nine were certified before school started. Escambia County Sheriff’s Deputies and Pensacola Police Officers made up the difference on Monday to cover all campuses. The school district had expected to have 20 new CSOs ready for the first day of school.

“I was a little surprised. We lost some (that did not qualify) on the firing range, but several were out in the active shooter simulations. You have to engage; you can’t freeze,” Thomas said. “They are expected to engage. That’s really what they are hired for.”

Several of those hired were retired military or had previous law enforcement experience. “They are not afraid to charge,” Thomas said.

Another 14 CSO candidates begin training this week, and the superintendent said he hopes 10 or more of those are certified. Ultimately, he wants a force of about 35 campus security officers.

Applications are processed through the Escambia County School District, but the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for training to include a background screening, psychological evaluation and polygraph test. Applicants are required to successfully complete 150 hours (approximately 2 months) of training. Participants are paid during the training. Those selected will have a starting salary at $30,600, plus benefits, for a 10 month position.

Funding for ongoing salaries of the CSOs will come from dedicated “Safe Schools Categorical” funding which is separate from instructional or teacher salary funding. The district will not hire more CSOs than it can afford under this separate funding mechanism, and the district will not be arming teachers.

Otherwise, the first day of school was generally smooth in Escambia County, Thomas said. “We ended strong last year, and we look to sustain that level and build on it this year.”

“Attendance was good, and students and teachers were in good spirits. Busses were generally one time, but several car rider lines were long.”

“It’s been a pretty good first day of school,” Thomas said.

Pictured: The first day of school on Monday at Byrneville Elementary School. Photo for, click to enlarge.


8 Responses to “School Year Starts With Only Nine Escambia District Armed Campus Security Officers”

  1. Deputy Dog on August 16th, 2019 9:00 am


    Pretend you have grandchildren in the system.

    Make it a priority.

  2. Godzuki on August 14th, 2019 5:47 pm

    THIS is precisely why there is a need to have Armed Teachers.
    Besides, there were teachers carrying anyway in Escambia and Santa Rosa since Columbine because THEY don’t want to have a school shooting on their watch and not be able to Defend their Students. Some are VERY well trained and have been shooting for decades. In fact, the ones I know of can outshoot the average Escambia Deputy. (doesn’t take much, most Deputies only hit the range once a year before Quals…LOL)

    If you have 3-10 armed teachers and an armed principal or two at each school, kinda solves the whole problem of school shooters killing lots of kids. Responding quickly and with multiple rescuers is the way to stop the nutters.

    Further…please stop taking the bad guys prisoner. School Shooters should be unloaded upon, period. Empty the mag and stop them forever. They’ve proven themselves incapable of being human by attacking kids, so just go ahead and finish them off on the spot. Start dusting these jokers off and it’ll stop as quickly as Israel’s problem with school shooters did. Notice they don’t have that problem since they armed their teachers back in ‘79, killed the next two kid shooters that showed up and haven’t had a problem at schools since.

  3. Thomas on August 14th, 2019 3:35 pm

    Although the pay figure isn’t the highest in the world, don’t forget benefits can add up to a lot. In addition to obvious ones like health, dental, and vision that people think of this position would almost certainly be on state retirement which adds a lot as well. As well as being guranteed to have every holiday and Summers off to help out and save on the cost of potential childcare.

  4. Melessia kmetz on August 13th, 2019 5:59 pm

    I mean I understand it’s dangerous but wouldn’t protecting kids be more worthwhile than flipping burgers?

  5. J on August 13th, 2019 2:47 pm

    This is foolish anyway.

  6. My2Cents on August 13th, 2019 9:30 am

    The pay is $3060 a month. This would be good for retired military for sure to supplement their income as well as have 2 months off work each year. It is the school system so you aren’t going to get rich but the pay seems okay.

  7. Monkey fist on August 13th, 2019 8:24 am

    It pays 12-15/ hour. Isn’t that w/ Mickie-D’s pays? And they get an employee discount. Bottom line: qualifications and responsibility does not jive well w/ the salary.

  8. SW on August 13th, 2019 4:12 am

    Did anyone notice the pay and the qualifications?
    Oh, and tobacco users need not apply.

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