A Florida sheriff is equipping school resource deputies with large rifles and “new style” tactical uniforms on school campuses in Brevard County following a school year that ended with the Uvalde mass shooting.
“You are not coming into my schools and killing our children,” Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in an Aug. 9 video. “I firmly believe that if you do not meet violence with violence, you will be violently killed.”
The upgraded weaponry will give deputies the level of preparedness needed to “instantly address” threats on school campuses with a level of force necessary to neutralize threats and save the lives of innocent teachers and children, the sheriff said.
In previous years, deputies’ long guns were kept safe in law enforcement cruisers in parking lots on school campuses and they would have to return to the vehicle to retrieve the rifles in the event of an emergency.
Ivey did not specifically mention what type of rifle Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) school resource officers would be carrying in schools. The clip shows a Kel Tec Sub 2000, a foldable pistol-caliber carbine that is easy for deputies to hang in front of the body, where it is readily accessible.
In the coming weeks, BCSO deputies will transition to the “new style tactical appearance” that will show that any officers serving on school grounds “mean business,” Ivey said.
The officers will have to go through special training sessions to be able to carry these kinds of rifles and offer service on school campuses.
Ivey also mentioned a quote by Chinese military general and strategist Sun Tzu, who said: “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought!!”—which means a battle can be won by outsmarting and out-strategizing the enemy long before it has started.
“With that concept in mind, my first goal to win the battle is by making sure our schools are hard targets, so that anyone with evil in the heart will think twice about coming onto one of our campuses and trying to harm a child or one of our teachers,” the sheriff said.
Some people have mixed reactions to this new tactic. The sheriff explained that someone told him the new tactical appearance reminds them of walking through the Israeli airport.
“My response to them was simple. When’s the last time you read about someone shooting up an Israeli airport? You haven’t,” Ivey responded. “And the reason for that is because they’re better prepared, better armed, and better trained than anyone else, and they’ve won the war, long before the battle was ever fought.”
Russell Bruhn, a spokesperson for Brevard Public Schools, told Florida Today that the school district works to make schools safe, but they leave it to the experts when it comes to how law enforcement does their jobs on school grounds.
“The sheriff is kind of our go-to when it comes to school security,” Bruhn said. “He’s our expert, he’s the one that we trust and the one we work with to kind of set the tone for what is needed on our campuses to make sure that our staff and our students are safe and to make sure that all of our SROs can respond to whatever they face each day.”
The school district’s move comes as other jurisdictions also upped protection on campus in the wake of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and two adults in May.
Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) announced that he’ll be hiring more than 30 additional law enforcement officers to strengthen security throughout the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) ahead of the new school year.