CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — The Citrus County School District now has eight guardians ready to protect students there this school year.
One of those new guardians is Winston Brooks.
Brooks retired from law enforcement after serving for 27 years in Connecticut.
"You still have a desire to serve your community," Brooks said.
That's why for him, becoming a school guardian was a no brainer.
"We're going to do our perimeter checks we're going to be inside the school mingling with the students, almost like a mentorship, a guardian in the true sense of the word," he explained,
All of the new guardians have law enforcement or military backgrounds.
But long before the schools opened their doors, the guardians were training.
They covered everything from tactical training, to mental health, to first aid and CPR, going several hours above the state mandate.
The district police chief said there will still be an SRO on every campus. The guardians simply add an extra layer of security.
"If the SROs get tied up doing an arrest or counseling a child or teaching a class on safety, the guardians are still going to be out there intermixing with the kids on campus being that security eyes and ears," Chief Buddy Grant said.
It's a program Brooks hopes will only continue to grow.
The Citrus County School District is also still accepting applications for their School Safety Volunteer program, which they started in the spring.