LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Schools in Lake County have increased law enforcement presence on campus for the rest of the school year following this week's deadly school shooting in Texas.
They’re also offering counseling services. This comes after two recent incidents where loaded guns made it onto school grounds in Lake County. Thankfully, though, nothing serious happened, officials say.
What You Need To Know
- Lt. Fred Jones says school resource officers are crucial in the safety of schools
- School resources officers are not only trained to detect indicators of active shooting threats, but know how to protect a school if the event happens
- Anyone who makes threats towards a school can face felony charges, even if they were "just joking"
Lt. Fred Jones has worked with Lake County Sheriff’s Office for more than two decades, but it's been in recent years that he’s seen the conversation of active shooters in schools shift within law enforcement.
Especially, he said, about how prevention and preparedness go hand in hand.
"When you talk about an active shooter, we are trained to go after the threat," said Jones.
And it starts with school resource officers.
"Our school resource deputies have probably the most training there is within the agency as far as active shooters," he said.
It’s a situation that Jones said deputies are always taught, but after the Parkland attack in 2018, he said a mass shooting so close to home changed the reality for members of law enforcement.
"I think it kind of verified why we do what we do," he said. "It’s a reminder that this may never happen in our county, but we will be prepared."
Part of that training is situational simulations officers take part in, Jones said.
"We try to put them in real-world scenarios, so to speak," he said. "They need to understand how they need to react, how quickly they need to react."
But Jones said the key part in the agency's training is preparedness and identifying indicators of a threat.
"The relationships they build with the students — it’s really important that these campuses have them there," he said. "It’s for the safety of the students."
Jones said even with the smallest threat of an active shooter, his agency investigates it.
He said members of the Sheriff's Office would rather investigate something innocuous than not take a threat seriously and have it turn into an immediate threat to the wellbeing of a school.
Officials with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said anyone who threatens to hurt people inside of school could face felony charges.