MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With the start of the new school year less than three weeks away, a special orientation was held at Miami Jackson Senior High for those who’ll be tasked with keeping students and staff safe.
“The training will encompass a multitude of items pertaining to juvenile law, pertaining to dealing with non-criminal offenses at school sites and dealing with communicating with children,” said Miami-Dade School Police Chief Edwin Lopez.
Following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, a new law requires every school to have a full time armed officer on campus. Miami-Dade Public Schools has 350 school sites.
“We have about 125 school resource officers internally. We’re aggressively hiring in order to beef up our staffing but it takes time,” said Chief Lopez. “It’s going to take us a little bit of time in order to have one officer internally to deploy to every school site so partnering with our brother and sister agencies is imperative.”
Because of a shortfall in the number of school resource officers in Miami-Dade various agencies, like Miami-Dade Police, will help out so that every school has an armed officer on campus come August 20th.
“Basically, the main function of this is to teach us the guidelines, teach our officers the guidelines because our officers are not all school resource officers,” said Miami-Dade Police Dept. Det. Alvaro Zabaleta.
Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez says with the training, officers will be able to gauge a perspective on how law enforcement has changed in a school setting with the advent of social media, technology and cell phones.
“We have an investigative division that works 24/7 dealing with social media monitoring chasing threats and false threats and hoax threats and we have a campaign against that however those threats, when they come in, have to be vetted,” said Chief Lopez.
In Broward County, armed guardians, made up of individuals who already have law enforcement background, will be tasked with keeping schools safe. Broward County also has a shortfall of about 40 armed guardians so local deputies will make up the shortfall.
“They will work with us on a short-term basis until we can actually get more individuals through the guardian program to provide staffing and support,” said Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.
Private schools are responsible to provide their own school resource officer.