Security in Florida Schools
Mike Surick CEO and founder of CounterThreat Consulting says Florida schools are in for a rude awakening. According to CNN, there has been, on average, one school shooting every week this year. Campuses like Florida Atlantic University and Broward College have created emergency action plans, along with conducting real-life training exercises in preparation for an active shooter.
Sergeant Edgard Mena, head of security at Broward College, located in Davie Florida, says, most active shooter cases are often over 10 to 15 minutes before law enforcement arrives, so students and staff must be prepared. He advises to be aware of your environment and always know the location of your nearest exit. If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door. Only at last resort should you attempt to take down the active shooter.
Broward College, the 23rd largest college in the United States, holds an active shooter training course the beginning of each school term for its 44,119 students and faculty. They can register to participate at www.broward.edu/saftey. In addition to active shooter training, campus security patrols the grounds by bike, golf cart, foot, and twenty-four-hour SUV surveillance.
There are code blue towers dispersed all over campus, and yellow boxes located inside buildings near the exits. These towers and boxes serve as a direct line to help. When the button is pushed a direct call is automatically placed to campus safety, and the location is identified.
Officer Richard Spradling, also a member of the Davie Police SWAT team, is one of the two police officers on duty at Broward Campus daily and has been since 2015. Officer Spradling, along with the 22 other officers on the Davie SWAT team, use Broward Campus for their onsite training. They reenact bomb threats and active shooter scenarios.
Most recently the Davie SWAT team trained in Bailey Hall, a multilevel performing-arts center featuring a variety of theater and concerts. Spradling said it is important for him and his team to train and be familiar with as many campus buildings as possible.
Mike Surick a veteran of the United States Air Force, started his company CounterThreat Consulting 11 years ago. Most recently, he has worked with high schools in Miami and Pensacola, training students and faculty on how to react to bomb threats and active shooters.
Surick strays from traditional methods of run, hide, and fight, during his four-hour onsite training. He encourages students and faculty to scan the area, identify the situation, predict the next move, cover or conceal your area, decide on and execute a plan.
“Always remember your best friend forever is, barricade, flee, and fight.” Surick also notes that in his experience, the most eager schools to get involved with his program happen to be private schools, where tuition comes directly from concerned parents. Surick believes that there isn’t enough being done by the government in regards to all the recent school shootings.
In response, Surick is currently developing a prototype called “The Shield.” “The Shield” is a ballistic protection system capable of preventing unauthorized entry into a classroom or office setting. The ballistic panel in “The Shield” provides UL752 Level 8, the highest rating available.
“The Shield” protects against handguns and rifles up to 7.62 calibers. It can be deployed in less than 10 seconds. Once deployed, the attacker cannot shoot through, break through, go under, over, or around. Surick hopes to have “The Shield” in schools by fall semester 2018.