District Police Chief Recommendation

District Police Chief Recommendation
Posted on 12/11/2018
Buddy Grant Sworn in

For Immediate Release

December 11, 2018

Contact: Lindsay Blair
Public Information & Communication
352-726-1931 ext. 2211

District Police Chief Recommendation

 

The safety and security of our students and staff in Citrus County has always been the top priority for the Superintendent.  As Superintendent of Schools it is her responsibility to be proactive and take the necessary steps to ensure every student and staff member is safe while at school. The School Board has a duty to ensure that we have options should we be in the position of having to enhance or expand the current School Resource Officer program.  Throughout her time serving as Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Himmel has worked very diligently in preparing our school system for any mandate or challenge that we may face.  Recommending, to the School Board, that we begin the process of putting into place a District Police Chief position that will undoubtedly serve to enhance our current security protocol, is yet another example of the forward-thinking principle she has followed in managing the school district over the last 14 years. We feel this recommendation will allow us to be fiscally prudent while enhancing the security protocol. 

 

At a recent Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Commission briefing to Superintendents, it was made clear that districts should anticipate additional legislative changes and mandates regarding school safety in the upcoming legislative session.  Specifically, the school district being tasked with providing additional security personnel on our campuses.  One proposed option is to provide School Boards more flexibility to implement and participate in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program. On multiple occasions the Sheriff has stated he does not support the implementation of the Coach Aaron Feis guardian program.  Unfortunately, as the law is currently written, to implement the Guardian Program we must have the Sheriff’s approval. Therefore, in October, a letter was sent to the Sheriff asking him to reconsider his position on the Guardian Program.  In this letter, the School Board asked for a response within 30 days.  Unfortunately, to date we are not aware of any response from the Sheriff’s Office.

 

It has never been our intention to replace the School Resource Officers program, rather this recommendation would be the first step in supplementing the SRO program.   We have always been an extremely proud supporter of our partnership with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), more specifically with the SRO program.  Since 1984, our school district has worked cooperatively with CCSO to develop an SRO program that successfully serves the students of Citrus County.  The product of this collaborative endeavor is a SRO program that has received national recognition for being a model for other districts around the country to follow.   

There continues to be a great deal of uncertainty regarding the upcoming legislative mandates in terms of school security. However, we are convinced this recommendation is a prudent step in best preparing the school district to meet the upcoming legislative mandates that may come our way.  To best prepare, we feel that someone with a strong law enforcement background and command level experience would be best suited to meet the school district’s needs.  Therefore, the Superintendent has recommended Buddy Grant to assume the duties of District Police Chief.  Mr. Grant’s experience in law enforcement is certainly comprehensive and impressive.  Mr. Grant has more than 25 years of extensive experience and knowledge in law enforcement, emergency management and security technologies, school safety and security, and risk assessment.  Mr. Grant has established many ties in various organizations and municipalities in Citrus County and beyond, all of which we are confident will be assets in furthering the school district’s safety and security initiatives.  Mr. Grant will oversee a variety of issues, including protocol development, an operating manual, and developing different options for any future mandates that may come forward from the State.  

The Superintendent is committed to all students and staff being safe while at school.  There is no doubt that students who feel safe at school perform better academically.  As Superintendent, Mrs. Himmel has always maintained the safety and security of our students and staff are of paramount importance to her.  This has been and will continue to be the guiding principle from which Mrs. Himmel leads the school district.  School safety is a principle by which the Superintendent will never compromise.