The Resident on Campus Security (ROCS) program — which allows police officers to live rent- and utility-free in trailers on Broward County Public Schools campuses — is coming under fire after an internal audit determined that the program is “not adequately supervised,” “operating with an expired lease agreement,” and that almost 91 percent of the emergency calls from ROCS campuses are answered by local police departments instead of ROCS officers.
The ROCS program was founded in the 1980s to address theft, vandalism, and trespassing on school campuses, but according to the school board’s chief auditor, Patrick Reilly, even if it were adequately overseen, it would still be unnecessary.
“The existing technology of alarm systems and fire alarm systems, along with the implementation of single point of entry, surveillance cameras, [Broward District Schools Police Department] staff on call and an Alarm Monitoring Unit that monitors security alarms at all school sites 24 hours a day, 7 days per week,” makes the ROCS officers an expensive luxury.
According to WPLG, the program is “in shambles.”
The audit revealed that no data was compiled or maintained about the program since 2013, and that it has been operating with expired lease agreements since 2010. Moreover, ROCS management personnel had no means of determining whether the officers it oversaw complied with the terms of their agreement with their host school.
At one of the trailers, believed to be on the grounds of a Coral Springs elementary school, the officer moved out without notice — and rented it out to people without performing a background check.
Andrew Ladanowski, chair of Broward County Schools Facilities Task Force, told WPLG that “obviously, they couldn’t provide anybody security on site. I don’t think it’s appropriate use of facilities — these trailers have taken valuable recreational space, and in some cases, created additional challenges to the facilities department when additional classrooms are required.”
“The only beneficiary I see,” he added, “is the freeloader living in these trailers.”
The school board will meet on February 18 to discuss the future of the program.
Watch WPLG’s report on the program below.