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Brevard sheriff announces plans to heighten school security

Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Brevard Schools Superintendent Dr. Desmond Blackburn call for fencing all schools, the ability to route visitors to the front office, lock-down areas inside, and modern, real time surveillance equipment. (Greg Pallone, staff)

 

 

The security of Brevard County schools is taking a front seat in the wake of the Parkland shooting two weeks ago.

Now, if the sheriff has his way, armed, trained staff much like air marshals will be protecting school campuses.

  • Sheriff announces plans to increase school security
  • Sheriff Training Onsite Marshal Program would deputize school staff
  • Plan expected to be put before school board soon

In this day and time, Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Brevard Schools Superintendent Dr. Desmond Blackburn agree schools are what’s called ‘soft targets,’ not providing enough of a defense if an active shooter scenario plays out.

Brevard County has 82 schools and more than 4,000 classrooms.

“Essentially it’s our bulletproof vest for protecting our schools,” said Sheriff Ivey.

“It’s not why I entered education,” said Dr. Blackburn. “But we are here. Our schools are targets.”

The plan calls for fencing around all schools, the ability to route visitors to the front office, lock-down areas inside, and modern, real time surveillance equipment.

It would also call for a strategic response plan for every school. Plus, they want to put a school resource officer in every school. But that funding must come from the state level.

“We have to have the conversation about doing everything we can to keep our kids safe,” Dr. Blackburn told Spectrum News 13.

Students will also go through active shooter drills, much like fire or tornado drills.

Dr. Blackburn said kids want to know exactly what to do if a gunman comes on campus.

As part of Operation Speak Out, students can give anonymous tips if they hear about a threat on campus. It’s much like Crimeline. Officials said they’ve received some 150 tips so far this school year.

But the measure likely to create the most buzz is the sheriff’s proposal called STOMP, or Sheriff Training Onsite Marshal Program.

School employees would voluntarily go through 130 hours of deputy-style training and act as armed security, which would respond to a campus threat like an active shooter.

Ideal candidates would have a police or military background, and go through rigorous vetting, background checks and psychological evaluations.

“An active shooter walks on the campus, and they feel they are completely free to take aim at anybody they want, and not worry about being taken aim at themselves,” Sheriff Ivey said. “That will no longer be true under this plan.”

The sheriff’s marshal plan proposal, with the superintendent’s support, is expected to be put before the school board soon.

 

On – 26 Feb, 2018 By BREVARD COUNTY