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78 New Miami-Dade Public Schools Police Officers Sworn In

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a momentous Monday night for the Miami-Dade Public Schools Police Department.

Family members, as is tradition, pinned a police badge on the 78 recruits.

The officers are joining the largest school district police force in the nation, which is now up to 460.

"Ever since Parkland, we have been on a recruiting campaign. We have hired well over 250 officers that have been sworn in at different points in the last 18 months," said Chief Edwin Lopez.

The Florida Legislature passed the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, which mandates a cop in every school.

A voter approved referendum generated the funds to hire more Miami-Dade school officers.

"I am here to make a difference. I feel like children deserve to be in a safe environment. I am here to make that happen," said Officer Fegerson Ballard.

In Miami-Dade, there will be no armed teachers or armed coaches. The aim is to have a school district officer in every school.

"We will not place arms in the hands of the teacher. They belong in the hands of the remarkable professionals here today," said Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

Jimmy Williams Jr. was one of six former school teachers in this group of newly minted police officers.

"From the classroom to the squad car," said Williams. "The main thing is to give back to the youth. Be a mentor, a protector, and security within the school, community as well."

Many of these officers will be stationed at schools. Right now, school cops cover most of Miami-Dade schools. The rest depended on officers from multiple agencies.

"Hopefully, by next school year we will have one of our own in each and every school," said Chief Lopez.

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