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Pinellas County Sheriff visits Martin County to teach deputies about errors in Parkland shooting response

Posted at 7:42 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 19:42:41-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Law enforcement officers in Martin County and Stuart are taking every step possible to keep your student safe this coming school year.
Thursday, they listened to the Chairman of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, list the mistakes he said were made during the response to the Parkland school shooting.
"I can tell you after living it for the last year and a half, it did not have to be as bad as it was. It could have been mitigated if there were better practices, better policies,” Sheriff Gualtieri said.
Gualtieri tours the state and region sharing what he learned after reviewing every second of the law enforcement response.
“They were not prepared to do their jobs,” Gualtieri said, showing examples of deputies delaying action, or failing to take action. “He can hear the gunshots and then he goes and sits in his car then drives off,” Gualtieri said.
For Gualtieri, the lessons learned from Parkland help other law enforcement agencies become better prepared should a deadly threat occur on a school campus in their community.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says with just days until the start of school, he and Martin County School Board Member Marsha Powers wanted to be proactive in having Sheriff Gualtieri come to Martin County.
“The presentation was extremely sobering. We walked away rededicated to not ever letting that happen here in Martin County,” Snyder said. “This kind of information is vital."
Snyder says Martin County is completely compliant with state laws mandating specific safety measures on school campuses since the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas shooting.
He has put two deputies at each county high school, and a deputy in every public and charter school.
They recently completed active shooter training.
Those deputies, he says, will now have the lessons from Gualtieri fresh on their mind for the start of the school year.
“We can’t look for a place of cover. We can’t look for a place of concealment. We can’t take time to throw on soft body armor, you have to wear it all the time and be ready,” Snyder said.
“There are a whole bunch of people making an effort to make school safer for their kids,” Gualtieri said.
Gualtieri said there are some districts in the state that are not fully compliant with state safety laws, which he plans to detail further in an upcoming commission meeting.
He says districts on the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County are compliant.