MIAMI (WSVN) - An agreement has been signed to help bring armed officers to every Miami-Dade Country school ahead of the first day of school.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed an agreement, Friday, that provides security resource officers in more than 100 schools across the county.
The signed agreement guidelines what to expect from armed SROs. Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials noted Florida had allocated $10 million for the mandate to have armed officers in schools.
Two million dollars will go toward hiring SROs, and the remaining $6 million will go toward overtime pay for the officers.
However, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said it’s not enough.
This latest development comes one day after Carvalho and Miami leaders met to try and fulfill the promise of having armed officers at every City of Miami school when classes resume next week. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Police Chief Jorge Colina were also in the meeting.
There was concern Miami Police would not have enough officers to staff the city’s schools by Monday in order to comply with the new Marjory Stoneman School Safety Act, which mandates an officer at every school.
A tentative agreement was reached as a result of Thursday’s meeting to provide officers in 34 schools.
Since the law passed only a few months ago, a county the size of Miami-Dade faced several challenges with the tight deadline.
“This is not easy. This is not easy,” Carvalho said. “It takes a lot of commitment and a lot of planning.”
Yearly active shooter training is also mandated under the new law.
Miami-Dade officers engaged in exercises to respond to an active shooter on campus.
“We’ve been training our officers on active shooters and how to respond to those types of situations with a focus on stopping the killing and then stopping the dying,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez.
There were also concerns that it could potentially leave high-crime areas of Miami short of police officers. Colina said that is no longer an issue.
“Those neighborhoods are going to have the same amount of patrolling,” he said. “We’re not going to take a policeman that’s patrolling an area where they need to have officers on the streets all the time and take that officer and put him at a school. We’re not gonna do that.”
The school district will be paying part of the cost for the Miami officers in schools.
In order for the plan to work, Colina said, they’ll need to pull officers from various areas of the city and pay them overtime in some instances.
“Our chief is working and will continue to work with the superintendent to find out exactly what the staffing levels are needed,” Suarez said, “but on day one, Monday, we will definitely be manning those schools.”
Miami-Dade Schools officials announced late Thursday that an agreement was reached with the City of Miami Gardens to provide police presence at 10 schools.
The emphasis on safety does not stop with school resource officers. Fifteen-thousand HD cameras have been installed across all schools in the county. They will be connected to a central command post.
To pay for all the additional officers and overtime pay, county leaders said they did not have to raise property taxes. However, in the future, they said they’re not ruling out raising property taxes if lawmakers in Tallahassee do not provide financial aid.
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