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'We are setting a benchmark': Palm Beach County school police chief says prevention, intervention key to safety

Officers stationed at all 187 public schools in the county
Posted at 7:19 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-12 19:19:33-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Following the shooting at another school in the U.S. on Monday, the police chief of the Palm Beach County school district shared his thoughts on the tragedy and the safety of schools in our area.

One person was killed and an officer was wounded after a shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville.

Palm Beach County School Police Chief Frank Kitzerow said this is a reminder that everyone has to be prepared and on guard for potential threats.

"It's very traumatic, and it just reminds us about the fact that we have to be vigilant," Kitzerow said. "There's a reason why we do all these things in Palm Beach County in terms of school safety."

He wanted to remind parents and students they should feel safe at schools, which includes prevention and intervention.

Palm Beach County school police chief talks safety after Knoxville shooting

"We are ready. We have very robust plans relating to safety, security, unified command ... our technology is very strong. ... We know what we're going to do ahead of time [if there is a security threat,]" Kitzerow said.

The chief said school district police officers are stationed at all of the 187 public schools in the county.

RELATED: Securing our Schools: How Palm Beach County is working to protect children

"The district, the school board has made a huge investment in school safety. The superintendent has provided remarkable leadership to help us get there," Kitzerow said.

He said the county is setting a standard for school safety for other districts in the U.S.

"As I meet with my colleagues across the country, not everybody has what we have," Kitzerow said. "We are setting a benchmark for excellence in school-based policing. We have probably one of the most robust school safety ecosystems in the country."

Kitzerow wanted to also remind parents that officers are working through the night and following up on leads to ensure the safety of students.