MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – A first of its kind agreement was made between Miami-Dade County Schools and the City of Miami Beach.
It will put armed police officers on school campuses in the city, something that will happen across Miami-Dade County in time for the fall.
This is just the beginning of changes to schools as a result of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this year.
Miami Beach commissioners and county school leaders shook hands Wednesday on a deal that will see Beach cops act as school resource officers at the city’s elementary schools.
After the Parkland massacre most systems put cops in all high schools and middle schools, but the school safety bill passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Scott requires a full-time copy in every school, pre-K and up.
“It is a moral imperative of our time. Sadly, sadly, a moral imperative of our time,“ School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told Beach commissioners Wednesday morning.
“It will provide an extra umbrella of protection at a time when there is a lot of dangerous threats out there,“ said Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates.
It will cost $20 million for Miami Dade alone to put cops in its 200 elementary schools. That is double what the state has provided the county for all new school safety measures.
The Beach has agreed to pick up the tab for officers at its elementary schools.
“The city’s commitment is going to be about $1 million. It’s going to cost about $1 million worth of payroll. It’s important. We have to do it,“ said Commissioner Ricky Arriola.
The officers will be specially trained to deal with children of a tender age.
“Kids have to go to school and feel comfortable in school,“ said Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “Having an armed officer, who is integrated into the fabric of the school, so it’s not debilitating to the educational mission, that’s the most important thing,” Gelber said.
A parent at South Pointe Elementary School on the Beach said he agreed completely with having officers on campus full-time.
“I think it’s great. I think security is of utmost importance for the kids, and I think having security at all times is the best thing,“ said parent Thomas Balcker.
Miami Dade is already spent or budgeted more than $50 million on new school safety measures, including hiring scores of counselors and psychologists to recognize potential danger.
The schools police department has a unit that works full-time, scouring the Internet, and looking for potential threats on social websites.