School police on security protocols following Florida shooting

Posted at 11:52 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 08:27:35-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – After the images from the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Joe Florentino, a captain with the San Diego Unified School District Police understands families need to be reassured.

“As a parent myself -- I have two kids in high school -- it rattles your cage,” Florentino said.  

Florentino said campus police practice “active shooter training” in conjunction with other emergency agencies, so they are trained to handle a similar situation.

As far as the protocol for students and staff, he said they have been trained to go into lockdown when there is a dangerous person on campus.

Florentino said there have been discussions about opening up the protocol to other options like “escape, barricade, defend” training, which is similar to “run, hide, fight.” However, that has not been implemented.

There are 40 armed officers that police about 200 schools. The officers are assigned in clusters and are very mobile and are in direct communication with school principals. Florentino said that direct communication is unique to their system.

“Say if the Morse (High) officer is servicing an elementary school, the principal can radio him directly to get him back there directly,” Florentino said. 

10News asked about the protocol for students banned from campus, as appears to be the case with the shooter at Parkland.

“It’s a misdemeanor crime for students who have been expelled or suspended to come back on campus so that they can be arrested,” Florentino said.

However, it admits it can be tough to enforce that because campuses are large and easily accessible to the public. So they rely in large part on staff awareness.

“We got 40 police officers, but we have 12-thousand other district employees,” he said.  “And we do, on select circumstances, circulate photos of students to schools.”

Like many parents, he wants to know about the events and circumstances that led to the mass shooting Florida. 

“For whatever reason (the shooter) was able to come back on campus," he said. "Hopefully all the details will come out and again, we’ll learn from those lessons."