Levy County trains for active shooters, while struggling to find school resource officers
At the Levy County Sheriff’s Office they are using firearm training scenarios to prepare their deputies for real life situations.
This intentionally stressful training offers several virtual scenarios that can have dozens of different outcomes, based on the deputies' response.
“They are going through this training to better prepare them in the instance we have an active shooter situation on one of our campuses,” says Lt. Scott Tummond, Levy County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
Using tools that look and feel the same as their normal equipment, deputies have to find the shooter, de-escalate the situation— and hope the subject doesn’t shoot back.
“We are giving them the tools and arming them with the information so that they can and will react appropriately if they were faced with a deadly situation on one of our campuses,” says Lt. Tummond.
Even though the sheriff’s office is arming their deputies, they are still struggling to find school resource officers under the new Safe Schools Act, which requires every school to have a deputy at all times.
“So we are at a real disadvantage,” says Levy County Sheriff, Bobby McCallum.
Last school year, Levy had six alternating resource officers, now, they are using off-duty officers, with reserve and retired deputies to fill the vacancy.
“We got nine schools but I need 11 or 12 deputies to cover those,” says Sheriff McCallum.
Although costly, they say student safety is most important.
“These are my kids too, these aren’t just somebody else’sand all of these kids are my kids,” says Levy County Schools Superintendent, Jeffrey Edison.
School will start this Friday in Levy County, and the sheriff says no matter how challenging staffing might be, he doesn't want parents and children to worry about their safety.
“To provide them with an environment that they can feel safe and secure and learnthey don’t have to worry about their safety and security,” says Sheriff McCallum.