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Palm Beach County school district gets fourth police chief in a year

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Screenshot from Swearing-In of Chief Sarah Mooney
New Palm Beach County school district police Chief Sarah Mooney speaks at her swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.

Sarah Mooney on Wednesday was sworn-in as Palm Beach County school district's police chief.

Mooney has worked in various capacities for the West Palm Beach Police Department for more than two decades, working her way up from patrol officer to police chief.

She was the city's police chief from February 2017 to June 2019, before the mayor announced her reassignment as chief of police for emergency management.

Speaking at a ceremony, Mooney says her working relationship with other police agencies will help her lead the district.

"The school district is a very unique community. And it requires a multifaceted approach in order to get the job done," Mooney said. "In this job there will always be challenges but with the community support, these challenges can be turned into opportunities." 

Mooney said traditional police work is different than policing in the school system but "it's still all about the community."

School board members unanimously approved Mooney last month. It's the department’s fourth police chief in about a year.

One of the school district's main priorities is to increase manpower and fill police vacancies.

School Board chairman Frank Barbieri, a former police officer, says Mooney is fully qualified and will be responsible for all of the active shooter response training of officers and other agencies.

"A school officer is unique," said Barbieri, "serving on the most important beat there is, protecting our children and our staff."