MIAMI - Miami-Dade Schools Police Department announced Friday a multi-pronged approach to making schools safer from gun incidents.
"The norm that we have almost resigned ourselves into accepting cannot be a norm that we can accept." said Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
Under the direction of Chief Ian A. Moffett, the department is working in schools to build relationships with students and parents and conduct awareness campaigns through law-related education and student presentations. The department is also working closely with local, state and federal law enforcement partners to track and investigate guns outside of schools.
"Any time there is a weapon at the school site, it is one too many, and we want to have Weapons Free School Zones," said Chief Moffett. "Schools need to be safe havens and not places for guns. Our work with School Resource Officers and other agencies will assist us in early detection of weapons."
To assist in this goal, M-DSPD is:
- Adding more School Resource Officers (SRO) to secondary schools to include middle and K-8 centers. By communicating with parents and students, officers can learn of potential issues and be proactive in reducing weapons on campus.
- Working with Department of Children and Families regarding cases where negligent action by the parents may have allowed a weapon to enter our school sites. We will hold parents accountable to the fullest extent of the law. We will also increase presentations through the PTA and online resources for parents to be aware of these issues.
- Continuing a random metal detection program. Preliminary studies show that there are correlations with reducing the number of weapons found at school sites.
- Participating in and promoting the Miami-Dade Police Gun Bounty Program. The program uses tips about illegal guns and provides monetary rewards to the reporting person when guns that were used in a crime are recovered.
- Assigning a detective part-time to Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to assist with investigations of all firearm incidents by tracking and investigating the source. This includes violators being prosecuted to the full extent of the law at the state and Federal levels
- Working proactively with local, state, and federal agencies to prevent weapons and drugs from getting onto the school sites.
- Encouraging the use of an anonymous tip reporting hotline, 305.995.COPS(2677), as well as Crime Stoppers, which recently introduced a new mobile phone app.
- Collaborating with the Round Table Youth Safety Committee and the Miami-Dade Police Chiefs Association Juvenile Safety Committee.
- Collaborating with our local law enforcement partners to utilize "Shot Spotter Sensor Program."
- Increasing student awareness of weapons laws through presentations conducted by Youth Crime Watch. The organization will also conduct a Nov. 18-22 campaign titled "No Guns and Weapons in my School" in all elementary schools.
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