First, I would like to thank everyone for the tremendous support since we took office Jan. 8.
While the first three weeks have been fast-paced for our agency, none of the issues are more immediate than our focus on school security for our children and teachers.
In the aftermath of the horrible incident in Newtown, Conn., school security measures are being revisited to ensure that, in the event of an incident, we are properly prepared to protect our children and school employees.
I have always believed that we must be aggressive and pro-active in our approach to crime prevention and that now, more than ever, we can't afford to wait for the emergency to happen before we go into action.
Immediately following the Sandy Hook incident, I met with Dr. Binggeli, superintendent of our Brevard Public School system, to discuss a strategic approach to ensure we are prepared for any type of threat to our children and teachers.
Each of our residents should feel confident in knowing that our Brevard County Schools have a very effective Critical Incident Plan in place.
In fact, critical incident responses are not new to our schools, as I can personally recall being in school years ago (actually many years ago) when our teachers would have us practice what to do in the event of an air raid or tornado.
While critical incident preparedness may not be new to our schools, what is new are the types of critical incidents we face. Today, we face various types of threats that cause great concern for the safety of our children and citizens throughout our country.
Our strategic plan with our schools engages a multi-pronged approach, designed to work through partnerships with not only our schools, but our local law enforcement and public safety components, as well. The model is designed to build on an already strong foundation by taking a multi-pronged approach to protecting our most precious commodity, our children. This approach includes increased law enforcement presence on our campuses, tactical site awareness for each individual campus and an education component that is delivered to our school employees and teachers. This program provides information about how to recognize a potentially developing incident and what to do to keep our children safe.
While our primary focus at this point is directed toward protecting our schools, it is important for everyone to remember that our schools are not the only venue we face dangers associated with critical incidents. Months before Sandy Hook occurred, we were all saddened by similar events that occurred at a movie theater and even before that at a temple and mall.
In law enforcement, we encourage our citizens to be pro-active in helping to protect themselves by always being aware of their surroundings and being prepared to respond to any type of emergency. I strongly believe that the greatest resource we possess in our war against crime is the ability to educate our citizens about measures to better protect themselves and others around them.
Wayne Ivey is the sheriff of Brevard County