Miami Beach Commissioners approved a resolution last week authorizing the Mayor and Chief of Police to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Miami-Dade County Public Schools for the placement of police officers at public schools located in the city. County school Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez, and School Board Vice-Chair Dr. Martin Karp, who represents Miami-Dade School Board District 3, attended the Commission meeting.
The MOU will provide guidelines as to the roles and responsibilities of the Miami Beach Police Department and the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department regarding the City’s placement of school-based Miami Beach Police officers (or SBLEOs) at Miami-Dade’s public schools.
The fundamental purpose of the school-based law enforcement officers will be to support school police by providing a visible presence, thereby deterring crime and promoting a safe learning environment. The initial term of the MOU is for three years, commencing June 1, 2018.
Invaluable to the school community
“School-based law enforcement officers are invaluable to the school community,” said Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho. “School and student engagement with police departments facilitate problem-solving, crime prevention, and critical dialogue related to appropriate student behaviors and to campus security and safety. The partnership with the Miami Beach Police Department demonstrates our continued mission of providing a safe learning and teaching environment for students, teachers, and staff. We look forward to formalizing similar agreements with all local municipalities in the coming weeks.”
“What we are seeing today is a greater level of cooperation from our stakeholders, specifically at the school site. Now, more than ever, when students, teachers and parents are privy to information, they are quick to share it with us, which helps our district tremendously,” added Miami-Dade County School Board Vice Chair Dr. Martin Karp.
“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 Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “We look forward to protecting the sanctity of our local public schools through this partnership.”
Numerous safety enhancements implemented
M-DCPS has implemented numerous safety enhancements, including school safety risk/threat assessments, mandatory ID use, reduced entry points, classroom doors locked at all times,
enhanced school security supervision with new and strict performance directives, and mandatory training for all school site administrators to review school safety plans and share best practices.
Additional ongoing safety and security enhancements include enhanced communication with parents via text messaging, drill and lockdown protocols, school site training of all school employees, and the expedited installation of security cameras in schools.
The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department has also assigned officers to all traditional middle and senior high schools. Additionally, M-DSPD will hire additional School Resource Officers (SRO) and will continue the deployment of random metal detection and K-9 sweeps in schools and at school-sponsored events, as well as the use of enhanced video surveillance and information-sharing capabilities to gather actionable data and highly specialized software to detect threats on social media. All threats are investigated by detectives 24 hours a day.
See Something, Say Something initiative
The District reminds the entire community that in keeping with the See Something, Say Something initiative, all suspicious activity should be reported immediately. Students are encouraged to report any suspicious activity to a teacher, counselor, school administrator, or school resource officer. Students, parents, employees, and community members can report information 24 hours a day by calling 305-995-COPS or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the recent and tragic series of school shootings across our nation, M-DCPS and districts around the country have dealt with a rash of social media threats. These hoax threats needlessly disrupt the educational environment of schools and interfere with officers’ ability to protect schools from real dangers.
Consequently, the District will exercise zero tolerance against anyone making hoax threats that target schools. M-DSPD takes every threat seriously and works closely with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate each one to determine their validity and to identify the perpetrator. M-DCPS is joining the FBI in advancing the #ThinkBeforeYouPost campaign to abate the number of false and prank threats made to schools, particularly on social media networks.