MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Rick Scott is a man with a plan.
Last week he said big changes are coming for safety in schools and mental health and on Tuesday he talked more in depth about what he’s trying to do.
Scott held a conference at Miami-Dade Police Headquarters discussing an almost $500 million plan to make schools safer.
I think all of us that get elected, we know that part of our job is to make sure every person in our state feels safe,” Scott said. “There’s no parent who should ever feel uncomfortable sending their child to school.”
Scott talked about strengthening gun purchase and possession restrictions for mentally ill individuals.
“We need to pass reforms to make it virtually impossible for anyone who has a mental illness or a danger to themselves, ever to use a gun,” he said.
The mental heath discussion didn’t stop with keeping guns out of their hands as Scott also wants to get those individuals help well-before anyone might try to do something drastic.
“I want to make sure we have increased presence with mental health counselors at our schools,” he said. “I want to make sure that every student has the opportunity to sit down with a mental health counselor and hopefully deal with any issues that they might be dealing with.”
Another point was to make sure there was a clear line of communication between schools and law enforcement, as well as agencies that are designed to help children.
“We need to increase the collaboration between our local sheriff’s, our police departments, our schools, Department of Children and Families and DJJ,” Scott said.
Scott also wants a mandatory law enforcement officer in every public school.
“We’ve got to make sure we have an increased law enforcement presence in all of our schools. Every school,” he said.
Additionally, Scott wants to have appointed professionals easily available to law enforcement in order to better assist and provide valuable information on a case-by-case basis.
“In all of our sheriff’s departments, I want to embed an employee from the Department of Children and Families to try to work better to coordinate any issues that they might be seeing around their community,” Scott said.
According to the governor, these law enforcement officers must either be sworn sheriff’s deputies or police officers and be present during all hours students are on campus.
“On top of that, schools that are larger would have a bigger law enforcement presence,” Scott added.
His plan proposes at least one law enforcement officer for every 1,000 students, something the governor wants implemented by the start of the 2018 school year.
The increased safety measures didn’t stop with more law enforcement, though.
“We also need to make significant investments in school safety,” Scott said. “We’ve got to invest in metal detectors, we’ve got to invest in bulletproof glass, we’ve got to invest in steel doors, we’ve got to invest in upgraded locks. We’ve gotta do everything we can to make sure that somebody that wants to harm any one of our students can never do it again.”
Before moving forward with the plan, it has to be something that everyone involved feels is doable.
“I want to make sure all these things are signed off by all our sheriff’s departments across the state,” Scott said.
With so much attention going to the warning signs and red flags that were raised about Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz prior to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre, Scott also provided a plan for people to report such things in the hopes that another tragic event like this will be averted.
“I also want to make sure we have an anonymous see something-say something statewide dedicated hotline, website and mobile app,” he said.