Sheriff's Corner

 

February 22, 2018



Our world is changing and it breaks my heart to see what’s happening. The shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida was horrific and I pray for the victims and their families. Schools and churches were safe havens for kids and people, not any more.

I worry what this world is coming to, as a Christian, I know what’s coming and want everyone to know, it’s time for preparedness for body and soul. We are seeing so much evil in the world and I’m very concerned. I teach an active shooter class to churches and to county employees… actually to any group who asks. There are three basic things in the course… RUN-HIDE-FIGHT if confronted with any violent situation. Many things will come out of the Parkland shooting… most of it will be sad but I want to know where this shooter snapped and if he had been institutionalized before, and, if so, why was he allowed to purchase the gun? As many of you know, I’m a gun rights advocate and believe in the right to be armed. However, I will say that an 18 year old person shouldn’t be able to purchase an assault rifle. Law abiding and mentally stable people don’t go out and commit these horrific mass killings. It is absolutely not the gun that kills, it’s the person behind the gun that pulls the trigger. Just last week a man in the Philippines went on a machete killing rampage thought it wasn’t widely reported in our media.

I know many churches now either hire armed security or allow their parishioners to carry weapons in church. Maybe it’s time to allow specially armed and trained principals, teachers, coaches and other staff to be armed. I heard on the news a coach tried to stop the shooter in Parkland and unfortunately was killed doing so. God bless this man for trying to save lives.

I’ve heard both sides of why we need a school resource officer, pros and cons. In my eyes there are no cons, if it can save the lives of our children. I believe parents and school staff would have peace of mind, knowing that a police officer is there. I would offer that if the police department doesn’t have the manpower or resources to do this, the sheriff’s office might be able to help. After all, we have the Dix school that could benefit having a school resource officer, even for an hour a day.

As police chief in Arizona before going to Iraq and coming here as Sheriff, I had a school resource officer and saw the difference it made in the schools, as well as, the students. It also provided school programs like Dare and GREAT. The school resource officer was loved by the community and they felt their children were safe having the officer there. As a chief I knew how important it was, because we were able to identify students who had the potential of committing crimes on and off campus. Most of the parents were deeply involved with their kids and often sought out the school resource officer if they were having problems with their child. One such case became tragic. A single father was trying to raise his two teenage children. The daughter, an excellent student, and his older son, a problem. The son had just an evil streak running straight through him, he was the kind of kid who could get caught red-handed and still lie through his teeth and pass a polygraph exam. His behavior progressively got worse. We watched him closely and made sure the students at the school were safe. He committed a violent crime off campus and was convicted, he was placed into a juvenile facility until he was 18. When he got out of juvenile detention his father was extremely worried that he would do something violent again. Within a few months he killed his girlfriend. No one ever really never knew the motive. Some said it was drug related, some said it was a domestic disturbance… he never told anyone why. I think it was, he just wanted to kill someone. Thank God he didn’t get a gun and go to the school, we were all worried but prepared, with much help from the school resource officer.


To recap, I don’t want to armchair quarterback what happened and why it happened in Parkland Florida. I am truly saddened by it and my thoughts and prayers go out to them. Please support a school resource officer back in our schools. If the community can’t afford it, at least support training for school staff willing to defend our students. I’ll be reaching out to Chief Bremer, as well as, the schools and the U.S. Justice Department for possible grants. While the odds are it would never happen here, we have had a few teenagers I felt were more than capable of doing the same thing as what happened in Parkland Florida and elsewhere. I put a gun and a badge on everyday knowing the risk. Students and teachers shouldn’t have to worry about their safety and the risk they have going to a safe place… School.

 

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