MIAMI — Miami-Dade political leaders want to develop a plan for putting police officers on all school campuses in the county.

Having sworn officers at all schools is a requirement under a gun bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Friday, but Miami-Dade officials had already begun discussing how to make that happen. Besides increasing police presence in all schools, elected officials want to bolster training and create a data-sharing partnership to identify potential threats.

Under the new law, the state will provide $162 million for school officers at public schools across the state. But Miami-Dade’s cut of the newly allocated funds dedicated to enhancing school safety might not be enough to pay for at least one officer at every primary and secondary public school, and the interagency training envisioned by local leaders. And several officials want to make sure that private schools are covered as well.

“We’re all advocating for the same thing,” said Alberto Carvalho, the Miami-Dade school superintendent. “I think everyone recognizes that this very sad incident was a game-changer for everybody.”

Carvalho and many local politicians disapprove of the Legislature’s decision to fund the arming of school personnel – $67 million statewide that critics say dedicates too much money to arming people who are not sworn police officers. Officials in Miami-Dade are talking about reassigning municipal police officers to bolster school patrols. The school system has its own sworn police force and places armed officers at secondary schools, but not primary schools.

“We’re going to have to sit with all municipalities and discuss how to best accomplish this task,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez.


The mayors of Miami, Hialeah, Miami Gardens and Miami Beach spoke with Carvalho the night of the Parkland shooting, all agreeing that more police were needed at schools the next day. The superintendent said it soon became clear that parents wanted the comfort of having additional officers all the time – a complicated proposition in a county like Miami-Dade that has so many local governments with different police forces, budgets and community needs.

“There are a lot of moving parts to it,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. At a meeting Wednesday, the city commission was eager to finalize an agreement with the school board that would put local police at the city’s six schools.

On Thursday, Miami commissioners learned that in the first year, it would cost the city about $25.2 million to put one new full-time officer in each of the 94 public and private schools in the city. Police Chief Jorge Colina cautioned commissioners that on top of the cost, the officers would need special training – particularly not to be heavy-handed while handling behavioral issues.

“I would not want the added responsibility of having policemen inside schools,” Colina said.

“Unless you have very specialized training, policemen are going to be policemen.”

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