The horrific Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is a community’s worst nightmare, leaving many to question how could it happen – and could it happen here.
I assure you that our agency, in partnership with the Lee County School District, the Board of County Commissioners and our elected representatives, is doing all it can to maintain the safety and security of our 93,000 plus students in public and charter schools.
In the short-term, we have added 40 School Resource Officers (SROs) to the 60 already embedded in our schools through the end of the school year through reassignment, but ultimately, we will need to hire and train more SROs. Our goal is to have a deputy assigned to each and every school as quickly as possible.
Even before the shooting in Parkland, Sheriff’s Office officials and the school district had taken steps to prepare for the threat of mass violence. In 2017 all SROs completed active shooter on campus training and LCSO Youth Services Division personnel also met with school district safety and security specialists to conduct emergency response training. This Agency has long offered, and will continue to conduct active shooter training, situational awareness seminars and threat assessments for the community. Call (239) 258-3280 to sign up for one of our free services.
A long-term solution has yet to be determined. “The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act”requires a sworn law enforcement officer at each school in the state. However, the exact number of deputies required and who is responsible for the additional costs have yet to be decided. Municipal and county funding likely will be required to implement the mandated safety measures.
Working together as a caring community, we will enact lasting and meaningful safeguards that ensure your child’s safety. You have my word.