Over 100 Hillsborough schools to lose police protection next fall

8:28 PM, Apr 25, 2013   |    comments
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Dillon Conn was arrested shortly after 2:30 p.m. Wednesday after he was seen near the front of Terrell Sessmus Elementary carelessly waving what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun. It turned out his weapon was a BB gun.
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Riverview, Florida - More than a hundred Hillsborough County elementary schools will no longer have an officer or deputy on site for protection when the 2013-2014 school year begins in August.

That includes Sessums Elementary in Riverview where officials say a man approached the school this week pointing what appeared to be a handgun.  

A deputy at Sessums on Tuesday was able to defuse the situation, and it turned out the 24-year-old man was actually pointing a bb gun.

But parents like Jennifer Grove say the incident underscores the importance of having an armed officer or deputy on site.

"Our children are our children, and we have to look out for them," Grove told 10 News.

Grove has 4 kids, including two who attend Sessums.

"We have to step it up."

Following the deadly shootings at Sandy Hook last year, Tampa Police and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office made sure an officer or deputy was at all 140 Hillsborough County elementary schools for at least a few hours each day. But that protection will come to an end when the current school year wraps up.

As it stands now, only 19 of the district's elementary schools will have a School Resource Officer on site when classes resume in August following the summer break.

"We feel we need to come up with a plan, that is our responsibility and we need to pay for it and we need to take care of it," said district spokesperson Steve Hagerty.

However paying for that protection is an issue. Officials estimate it will cost $4.1 million the first year to put an armed officer at every elementary school in the district.

"We are still in discussions about exactly what we're going to do to enhance security for our schools," Hagerty added.

Follow 10 News Reporter Preston Rudie on twitter @PrestonRudie

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