76ºF

Broward County Public Schools introduces new chief of safety

Brian Katz has 20+ years experience in public, private security sectors

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie introduced his new chief of Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness Friday. 

Calling the newly created position unprecedented in a large school district, Brian Katz -- who has an impressive resume over 20 years in the public and private security sectors, including work at the State Department and Google -- said he is up for the enormous challenge. 

"When I first joined Google, none of the organization existed from a programmatic perspective and the things I built up," Katz said. "It is just an amazingly challenging construct that hasn't been focused on before. That has just an unimaginable impact."

The position was created as a result of the Feb. 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Katz said he will take a layered security approach to stop a school massacre from ever happening again in the district, but he also wants to prepare if it does.

"What I need to do as the highest priority is the engagement with law enforcement, particularly local, to increase and improve our response in the event of an emergency," Katz said. 

For Katz, this is a personal homecoming. He grew up in South Florida and he has a child in the Broward County school system.

"My daughter showed me this job description and said, 'This sounds like what you do. Can't you do it for us?'" he said. 

Unbeknownst to Katz, he also has a personal connection to Parkland victim Chris Hixon.

"Funny thing is that he was my student at South Broward when he graduated in 1996," Hixon's wife, Debbie Hixon, said. "I look forward to maybe having some discussions with him to find out what is the plan? Because maybe now there will be a more urgent, defined plan."