BCSO school resource officers will carry upgraded weapons in schools, sheriff says

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Following concerns raised by the May mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey announced in a video posted on Facebook that some officers school resources would carry long guns on campuses across the county. .

“You don’t come to my schools and kill our kids,” Ivey said. in the video posted on Monday. “I firmly believe that if you don’t meet violence with violence, you will be violently killed.”

He said the sheriff’s office and its partner agencies across the Space Coast have worked together to implement safety plans for Brevard public school campuses. The students returned to class on Wednesday.

Those plans call for sheriff’s school resource officers to be outfitted with new uniforms with a “tactical appearance that clearly means we mean business,” as well as long guns.

Long guns were once kept in law enforcement vehicles in school campus parking lots, Ivey said.

Ivey did not specify in his video what specific type of weapon BCSO School Resource Officers would carry in schools. The video showed an image of a long gun, but it did not specify whether it was what BCSO School Resource Officers would carry or its model. He also did not specify which model of long gun officers previously kept in their vehicles.

The sheriff’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Several county commissioners did not respond to requests for comment about where the money for the new equipment will come from. Don Walker, a county spokesman, said on behalf of the county budget manager and the county executive that they would not be able to provide “an overview of how the sheriff spends his budget.”

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Brevard Public Schools spokesperson Russell Bruhn said that while the school district works to make schools safe, when it comes to how campus law enforcement does their job, they “leave that to the experts”.

“The sheriff is kind of our school safety go-to,” Bruhn said. “He is our expert, he is the one we trust and the one we work with to set the tone for what is needed on our campuses to ensure that our staff and students are safe and to s ensure that all of our SROs can react to whatever they face every day.”

Bruhn said school resource officers have always been armed, carrying handguns in the past. But several people protested against any larger weapons on campuses at Tuesday’s school board meeting, raising concerns about “assault rifles” in schools.

Michelle Barrineau, vice president of Families for Safe Schools, said Ivey’s plan won’t make students feel safer.

“The intention, says (Ivey), is to buy time in the event of an active shooter. What it will do is create a prison or war environment in our schools,” she said. “No one feels safe anymore when they see this. They feel like they’re in imminent danger.”

Criminal justice consultant and law enforcement training expert Roy Beddard reiterated that guns have always been on campuses. He said there were pros and cons to more visible long guns.

“People don’t like walking around what they think is a heavily armed campus, especially when you’re a kid, and everyone understands that,” Beddard said. “The flip side is that because we know these things have happened and will likely happen again, we want to be ahead of the power curve by having these weapons immediately accessible and not having to take the time to transport. in.”

Beddard went on to say that long guns would likely be better for active fire than the typical handguns school resource officers carried in the past.

“I think that’s one of the problems you have with active shooters is that they don’t come with revolvers or semi-automatic handguns, a lot of them bring rifles, and you don’t want to bring a handgun to a rifle fight,” he said. “You want to be able to have at least comparable firepower to be able to handle a situation that uses this kind of powerful weapon. I think the best hands to put them would be trained deputies.”

Barrineau expressed his concerns about an accident with the weapons present in the schools.

Beddard said deputies should undergo specific training to handle firearms on school property, saying they must train with the “ecology” of their environment in mind.

“We need the training to be ecologically sound, otherwise we are going to end up with tragic results from a maybe not so well trained assistant who is able to hit the bullseye but is not stress trained. — related factors that are going to accompany a real school shooting with kids, administrators and teachers running around in a very confined environment,” he said.

In her video, Ivey said her goal was to make schools a “hard target” for those with “evil in their hearts.”

“I want to reassure our parents, our teachers and our students that our schools are among the safest in the country and are protected by what I believe are the bravest deputies and officers in America,” he said. -he declares.

Finch Walker is a FLORIDA TODAY Breaking News reporter. Contact Walker at 321-290-4744 or [email protected] Twitter: @_finchwalker

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