A defiant Florida sheriff announced Tuesday that his county’s school deputies will carry large rifles and wear “tactical” uniforms on campus in the wake of the Uvalde massacre.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said the upgrades will deter would-be school shooters and better equip officers to neutralize an incident in progress.
“You are not coming into our schools and killing our children,” Ivey said in a Facebook post. “I firmly believe that if you do not meet violence with violence you will be violently killed.”
In past years, Ivey said deputies would have to return to their vehicles to retrieve larger guns in the event of an emergency requiring heavier firepower.
“This new style uniform and tactical preparedness gives our team members the advantage and ability to instantly address the threat with the level of force necessary to eliminate the shooter and save the lives of innocent teachers and children,” he said.
Ivey acknowledged that the presence of long guns inside schools would be questioned — and said one critic wondered if kids will feel like they’re inside an Israeli airport.
“My response to them was simple,” he said. “When’s the last time you heard about someone shooting up an Israeli airport? You haven’t. And the reason for that is that they’re better prepared.”
Ivey highlighted the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas where 19 children and two teachers were killed. Outraged parents in the small community have called for the resignation of local law enforcement officials for failing to take action as the tragedy unfolded.
Ivey said his goal is to make Brevard County schools “hard targets” and that the imposing appearance of deputies on campus will signal that they “mean business.”
Other jurisdictions have also upped their firepower in the wake of the massacre.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office announced this week that they will also have an AR-15 rifle in each of their six schools this year.