Hillsborough Co. law enforcement, school leaders discuss safety measures in place for academic year

Hillsborough County

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Top law enforcement officials from all over Hillsborough County came together Thursday afternoon to discuss safety measures in place this academic year and some they plan to add.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said agencies will improve security cameras, install fencing on campuses, and soon put in a GPS system at schools that will track visitors as they roam hallways and classrooms.

Chronister and Hillsborough County School District Superintendent Addison Davis led the discussion.

8 On Your Side pressed Chronister about balancing COVID-19 measures and school safety at the same time, especially since the coronavirus has dominated people’s lives over the past several months.

“We did both. We took on additional responsibilities. We didn’t say, let’s focus on COVID related activities and we’ll relinquish and be able to take a break on school safety. That was never an option. The option was we’ll do more with less,” the sheriff said after the meeting.

Below is a list of agencies that had representatives at the event:

  • Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
  • Temple Terrace Police Department
  • Hillsborough County Fire Rescue
  • Tampa Port Security Director
  • Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management
  • Plant City Police Department
  • FDOE Office of Safe schools
  • Tampa Fire Rescue
  • FBI-Tampa
  • Plant City Police Department
  • HCPS Security and Emergency Management
  • MacDill Air Force Base
  • Tampa International Airport Police
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement

The Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office attended and spoke to 8 On Your Side, stressing the importance of information sharing to make sure incidents at schools are prevented.

“We protect local schools like we protect the local community. We’re about information sharing. If we collect intelligence we share intelligence,” Michael McPherson said.

The biggest hurdle for the Hillsborough district is its size, according to the superintendent.

“Hillsborough County is very large. It’s the 7th largest in the nation. We have to be able to make certain you have a crisis management, a relations plan with the public safety entities. To make sure you have a common language,” said Davis.

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