Neptune Beach Establishes School Safety Liaison Program
Officers will check schools in the city at random times, share information
The City of Neptune Beach has established a school safety liaison program following the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Neptune Beach Mayor Mayor Elaine Brown facilitated a meeting with Duval County School and Neptune Beach Police officials as well as representatives from Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach last week. The goal of the meeting was to lay the groundwork for the program even before funding from the state is available under legislation being considered in this final week of the legislative session in Tallahassee.
“Mayor Brown tasked us ‘how can we have boots on the ground,” said Neptune Beach Police Chief Rickey Pike. “We’re not waiting on state funding, we’re not waiting on federal funding. Let’s get something going right now’.”
Under the program, one officer from each squad will be designated as a school liaison. The officer will be required to go to Fletcher High School, Neptune Beach Elementary School, and Beaches Chapel K-12. They will integrate with the Duval County School police force.
Speaking Monday night at the Neptune Beach City Council meeting, Neptune Beach Police Commander Gary Snyder said that the officer will be required to spend at least an hour on each school campus, but the times will not be announced, and the length of the stay will not be specified. “We don’t want the public to know when we’re on the campus and when we’re not on the campus,” Snyder said. “During that time on campus, (the officer) is going to coordinate with the School Resource Officer and the and also has a point of contact that’s part of the school administration. They’re going to share any information that’s out there, any intelligence, it may be an issue that they’re dealing with with a student, or maybe even a parent. The duties of this officer are to assist the SRO and the administration in every aspect of law enforcement and security,” Snyder said.
The plan was put into action Monday in Neptune Beach. The department will continue to evaluate the policy and make adjustments as necessary, according to Chief Pike.