The Brevard County, Florida, sheriff recently announced a new policy that will allow school resource deputies to carry rifles on campuses in the event of an active shooter.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey made the announcement via a Facebook post in which he said: “You are not coming into our schools and killing our children.”
The move comes just before the county schools open for the first day of the school year.
“I’m always doing new things. Things that are going to throw something different at the criminal element,” Ivey said in an interview with ClickOrlando.com.
The sheriff said the move is part of an effort to coordinate with police departments across the county to “develop and implement specific security plans and strategies that ensure the safety of those on our campuses.”
Under the new policy, school resource officers will receive a new uniform and be able to carry a long gun on campus so they can respond to imminent threats without having to run to their vehicle to get the rifle.
“This new style uniform and tactical preparedness give our team members the advantage and ability to instantly address the threat with the level of force necessary to eliminate the shooter and save the lives of innocent children and teachers,” he explained.
The SROs are set to receive the new uniform in the next few weeks.
However, some activists and parents were not fond of the change.
Jabari Hosey, the president of Families for Safe Schools and a parent of three Brevard County students, said gun laws and not guns would make schools safer.
“I hope we don’t get to the point where we need to militarize our schools where they’re like military bases,” Hosey said. “I get that we don’t want to be outgunned because AR-15s are just as accessible to a regular person as the sheriff’s office, but to me, you’re just creating more of a problem than a solution.”
Sheriff Ivey was confident that vetted officers with adequate training and a desire to protect children would mitigate these concerns.
“While I pray it never happens, I can assure you that our Brevard County Sheriff’s Office school resource deputies are prepared to win the battle to protect our children and teachers!!” the sheriff wrote on Facebook.
“I firmly believe that if you do not meet violence with violence, you will be violently killed.”
Madison County, North Carolina, recently authorized a plan to store assault weapons in storage safes within schools for SROs to use in case of an active shooter scenario.