School security specialists tasked ‘to stop the threat’

The job description for the new armed security specialists who will soon be patrolling many Brevard schools makes the School Board’s expectations clear when it comes to an emergency situation.

“Immediately responds to and engages to stop the threat of an active assailant,” is listed as a key job responsibility.

Also among a security specialist’s duties: conduct security checks both inside the school and along the perimeter of campus; investigate “unusual incidents” such as threats and unauthorized visitors; prepare documents such as security logs and procedures; document violent incidents and suspicious activities; and monitor security cameras and other surveillance devices.

The county hopes to hire 28 security specialists before school resumes on Aug. 10. They will fill the gaps in schools that do not have school resource officers. Unlike SROs, the security specialists will not be sworn law enforcement personnel.

The job description was unanimously approved by board members at their most recent meeting.

Board member Matt Susin expressed concern over what he views as a too-low salary for the positions, based on discussions he said he has had with people that would be qualified for the job. “When we set the salary roughly between $30,000 and $35,000, we may not attract the best that we might be able to attract,” Susin said during the board’s discussion.

Other board members said that was all the money available at this time. The district typically provides about $52,000 for each SRO, while local law enforcement agencies kick in any other funds that might be required.

Board member Tina Descovich said the $30,000 to $35,000 salary was a good starting point.

“It’s my opinion that we should start with this salary and if we can’t fill those positions then we can reconsider,” Descovich said.

There are three levels of security specialists. The highest level requires 10 years of experience in law enforcement, a related field in the military, or other closely related position. The lowest level requires five years of experience in situational monitoring or a related career field.

Board member Andy Ziegler noted that he would like to see all three levels specifically require law enforcement or related military experience.

“I would like to know that somebody has adequate training for this position and I don’t think private security training is adequate background,” Ziegler said.

The job description indicates that current or former certified law enforcement officers are preferred for all three levels.

School Board chair John Craig said he thinks the board has made it clear that they are looking for the highest quality candidates possible.

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