Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office Touts Commitment to School Security

Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office Touts Commitment to School Security

“We have gone way above what I think the normal school board and sheriff’s office has done so far in the state of Florida,” Johnson said. ”[Santa Rosa School Superintendent] Tim Wyrosdick’s commitment to the citizens of Santa Rosa County to keep their children safe is his No. 1 priority.”

In a press conference Monday, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said he and his department are working closely with the Santa Rosa County School District on securing school to prevent violence on campuses.

“We have gone way above what I think the normal school board and sheriff’s office has done so far in the state of Florida,” Johnson said. ”[Santa Rosa School Superintendent] Tim Wyrosdick’s commitment to the citizens of Santa Rosa County to keep their children safe is his No. 1 priority.”

Johnson wanted to “set the record straight” after Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s Jan. 22 testimony to the House Education Committee, in which Gualtieri said Florida counties are not implementing safety measures called for by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act quickly enough.

“That very well may be may be true for 66 of 67 school boards, but speaking for Santa Rosa County I have to set the record straight,” Johnson said. “The day that the bill [Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act] was passed [in March 2018], I think we are the only school board/sheriff’s office in the state that came to a definite contract — verbal at first — but we came to a contract that day in order to put a good guy with a gun in every single school in Santa Rosa County.”

According to Johnson, at least one staff member in every county school is armed, and the number of school resource officers has increased from five before the Parkland shooting to 31 today. While the majority of SROs will not be working on school security full-time, they will all be trained for school emergencies.

Johnson said the department prepares for an active shooter situation on a daily basis.

Each school now has radios allowing school staff to communicate directly with the sheriff’s office, and a common terminology has been implemented to make it easier for deputies and civilians to communicate.

There is still work to be done, Johnson said, such as anti-bullying policies and staff training on monitoring social media for warnings and threats.

Daniel Hahn, head of the school safety for Santa Rosa County, said security cameras continually need replacing, and the system needs software upgrades. The school board has spent $876,000 on security cameras this year, Hahn said.

Johnson said his officer is working on gaining access to all of the county’s school security cameras, after which dispatchers will be able to better train for and handle security problems like active shooter scenarios.

The school board has a budget of $500,000 to spend on SROs and $950,000 allocated for school hardening and access control this fiscal year.

Johnson said each school is scheduled to be upgraded by May.

Digital Edition

  • Campus Security & Life Safety Magazine - March April 2019

    March/April 2019

    Featuring:

    • Proactive Steps in Protecting Students Using Technology
    • Securing Our Hospitals and Protecting Your Privacy
    • Leveraging a Unified Mass Notification Solution
    • From Safe Campus to Smart Campus

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