Miami-Dade Public Schools Police Department just swore in seven new officers, Tuesday. As this article from CBS Miami states, these officers are the first to join the force since the February 14 mass murder at in Parkland, Florida. But they were not brought in as part of Florida’s new law to increase safety in our public schools.
Under the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act signed earlier this year, by Governor Rick Scott, Florida school districts have the option to let school staff carry guns at school. Teachers are excluded from that option, but staff who get their school board and sheriff to sign off on it, can carry on campus if the school district voluntarily decides to participate.
Miami-Dade Public Schools and Broward, where the shooting happened, have both said they won’t be opting-in to that program.
After the shooting hundreds of advocates, including many students from Stoneman Douglas, converged on Tallahassee to ask lawmakers to tighten gun laws and make schools safer. The law stopped short of changing gun laws, but did take steps to make schools safer.
Other provisions in the law include the following:
- About $100 million to “harden” schools with metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors and upgraded locks.
- Every school in Florida will have an officer assigned to it.
- All schools must do a schoolwide active shooter training every semester.
- A new “FortifyFL” app is in the works to allow for anonymous tips on school threats.
- $103 million set aside to expand mental health services.
- A task force will be created to investigate the failures leading to the massacre, and recommend solutions.
The origins of the Miami-Dade Schools Police date back to 1957 when the Dade County Education Commission acknowledged “security” as an integral component of District operations. Since then the organization has had several name changes and role changes to be what it is today. After the shooting, the department launched a “see something, say something” campaign to encouraging students to report suspicious activities.