Pasco school district, Zephyrhills police part ways on resource officers
After weeks of troubled relations, the Pasco County school district and Zephyrhills police department have decided to end their contract for resource officers in Zephyrhills High and Stewart Middle schools, effective Monday.
City manager Steve Spina and superintendent Kurt Browning issued a joint statement just before noon announcing the move. The statement reads:
The City of Zephyrhills and Pasco County Schools have agreed to terminate the contract for provision of school resource officers at Raymond B. Stewart Middle School and Zephyrhills High School. The Pasco County Sheriff's Office has agreed to assume SRO duties at the two schools as part of its current contract with the district.
It's in the best interests of the city and the school district to make a change at this time. Both of our organizations want to move forward and this is the best way and best time to do that. The City of Zephyrhills, its police department and the schools within the city limits look forward to continuing our positive working relationship in the years to come. The ZPD still will respond to emergency calls and accidents, and will assist the PSO as necessary.
The effective date of the transition is Monday, February 29, 2016.
The difficulties arose after the release of police Sgt. Reggie Roberts as Zephyrhills High School football coach. Allegations and arguments went back and forth between the two agencies in the aftermath, with each side saying its trust in the other was diminishing. Officials met a handful of times, most recently earlier this week, before arriving at this decision.