BREVARD COUNTY, Florida — The day is finally here: Twenty-six men and one woman, who are armed security specialist, will patrol schools without school resource officers.
- Armed security specialists patrol Brevard schools
- Specialists were trained under S.T.O.M.P
- MORE: Central Florida education coverage
Each specialist underwent 80 hours of firearms training, 24 hours of tactical pistol training, and 24 hours of active shooter training, amongst other types of training.
The specialists were trained under S.T.O.M.P. — the Sheriff Trained Onsite Marshal Program — which cost about $863,000 to train them. A total of $1.2 million came from Brevard Public Schools budget and was funded by a half-cent sales surtax.
While they do carry the same firearm as law enforcement, they cannot make any arrests.
According to Brevard County Public Schools, many of the armed security specialists have previous experience handling guns.
“On average, (they have) 10 years (of) experience in law enforcement, average eight years’ experience in military, (and) corrections background too,” said Brevard County School Assistant Superintendent Matt Reed.
Heather Harris's son is attending a school with an armed security specialist and is glad the school board decided on the specialists rather than arming unpaid volunteers from school staff.
“Parents and students feel more comfortable that there is a dedicated person and not a gun in a classroom,” Harris said.
Florida law bars the district from publicizing the identities of school safety officers and details of individual schools’ security plans.