Miami Beach schools adding police presence next academic year

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach public schools will have an armed police presence starting this upcoming school year.

In a collaborative effort, the City of Miami Beach and the Miami-Dade County Public School Board approved the use of Miami Beach Police officers at all public schools in the urban island.

“The world is full of dangerous threats and our community has made an evaluation that this is a threat without taking some action, and this is the action that we are taking,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates.

Miami Beach Commissioners voted unanimously, Wednesday morning.

It’s the first municipality in the county to reach such an agreement and will be fully funded by the City of Miami Beach.

Speaking to reporters outside the board meeting, Miami-Dade Public Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez highlighted how the armed presence would work.

“It basically provides for a force multiplier at our middle and high schools,” said Lopez. “You may have a school board police officer working collaboratively with a City of Miami Beach officer.”

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber weighed in on the measure.

“It is our hope that dedicated law enforcement will be integrated into the fabric of the school community and be a positive, reassuring force for our youth,” said Gelber. “We look forward to protecting the sanctity of our local public schools through this partnership.”

Funding for the officers will include a presence at the following schools:

  • South Pointe Elementary
  • Fienberg Fisher K-8
  • North Beach Elementary
  • Biscayne Elementary
  • Nautilus Middle School
  • Miami Beach Senior High School

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho championed the city’s move.

“School-based law enforcement officers are invaluable to the school community,” said Carvalho. “School and student engagement with police departments facilitate problem-solving, crime prevention and critical dialogue related to appropriate school behaviors and to campus security and safety.”

Carvalho said he hopes to see this replicated across Miami-Dade County in the coming weeks.

The move comes as lawmakers across the country look into how school districts can improve campus security to prevent another mass shooting.

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