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Added security staying put at Tampa schools

11:22 AM, Jan 7, 2013   |    comments
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Police cars outside of Liberty Middle School

 


 


Tampa, Florida -- As the first bell after winter break approaches at 8 a.m. Monday, we'll see teachers, parents, and the police show up at elementary schools in Tampa.

A uniformed Tampa Police Department officer will be standing watch.

That new policy will be in place for the rest of the school year, 10 News has learned.

It covers all 34 elementary schools within the city limits that don't have an armed security officer.

Tampa Police will be assigning a uniformed officer in a marked patrol car to each of those schools during arrival and dismissal times.

Plus, in a change that seems subtle but could make a huge difference when seconds matter, other officers who work in the area are now encouraged to write their reports while parked at schools instead of somewhere else.

Plain clothes officers will also be making building security checks when they're available.

On top of that, TPD says it's putting all of its officers through more extensive training in how to handle "active shooter" situations.

Middle and high schools across the Bay area already have a permanent officer or deputy on campus. But several school districts around Tampa Bay have declined to add officers at elementary schools.

That includes the area's second-largest district. Pinellas County will not have uniformed officers as a guaranteed fixture at its elementary schools.

However, officers who patrol turf with schools will certainly be available and paying close attention.

Polk County says its school security staff will meet with law enforcement during the day on Monday.

They decided to beef up sheriff's and police presence at elementary schools right after the Newtown shooting. Monday, they'll decide whether to keep that up for the rest of the year.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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