Sheriff: Armed Palm Beach County School Security Officers Weren’t Properly Trained

The firm hired to train armed security for Palm Beach County charter schools was passing students who failed shooting tests, among other things.

Sheriff: Armed Palm Beach County School Security Officers Weren’t Properly Trained

The Palm Beach County’s Sheriff’s Office released a report condemning the security company hired by the district to train armed security officers for the county’s schools.

An investigation by the sheriff’s office found charter schools were not meeting state requirements for the training of its officers, reports WPBF.

Invictus Security Services of Boynton Beach was hired by the Palm Beach County School District to train nearly 30 guards for its charter schools, charging $3,000 per person.

The report pointed out many flaws in the company’s training, including the use of unqualified instructors and the passing of students who failed shooting tests.

Specifically, the report found:

  • Program director and lead instructor Gregory Solowsky was not a state-certified instructor due to the fact that he “resigned/retired in lieu of separation for violating agency/training center policy from the Lauderhill Police Department.”
  • Students passed firearms qualifications with an 80% score when the state requires a score of 85%.
  • The company lacked documentation to show instructors’ qualifications.
  • The company could not provide documentation of student attendance.

The review from the sheriff’s office found the training to be so incompetent that it refused to certify the guards as qualified. All guards are now in the process of being retrained through the sheriff’s department to be in full compliance. The money for the training will come from the state’s guardian fund.

Under the state guardian program implemented in Florida following the Parkland shooting, security officers are required to take a 144-hour course, which includes firearms training, tactics, active shooter scenarios and legal issues, according to The Sun-Sentinel.

Members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission chimed in on the office’s findings.

“What’s to me most appalling is that the school district paid $3,000 per person for this inadequate, inferior training that was, it looks like, just done to check a box and get people through,” said Bob Gualtieri, Pinellas County Sheriff and chairman of the commission. “If the school district put these unqualified people into schools to protect kids, people who couldn’t even qualify on the firearms under the standards that are established, that could be very dangerous.”

Polk County Sheriff and commission member Grady Judd blasted the school board for hiring the firm.

“It’s total, absolute incompetence,” he said. “And they have wasted literally tens of thousands of the taxpayers’ dollars. And they still didn’t appropriately comply with the law. I am outraged at their incompetence and lack of care and concern.”

Until the guards’ retraining is complete, the school district is paying for sheriff’s deputies to protect its charter schools, which was a contingency plan in case there was an issue with the security firm.

About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her son and her dog.

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3 responses to “Sheriff: Armed Palm Beach County School Security Officers Weren’t Properly Trained”

  1. Chuck Hibbert says:

    This may just be the tip of the iceberg in Florida. How many other schools, including charter and private schools, have guardians hired who may not have completed state mandated training. This is a potential disaster for the safety of students and staff. And the potential legal ramifications are another nightmare. In my opinion, this is what happens when legislation is passed with good intentions without considering the realistic amount of time it takes to train guardians.

  2. James McMullin says:

    Since when is $3,000 per officer adequate and any circumstances? Some states require certification through the state verses the individual agency providing the services. I wonder what the price is per Law Enforcement officer in Florida.

  3. Carolann Padgett says:

    It is an article like this that makes me believe in the saying, “God will place you where He wants you to be.” Especially after my husband was recently interviewed for the School District of Palm Beach County’s (SDPBC) Accreditation Specialist. He was offered and accepted the position, sent the employment contract only to have the job offer fall apart during their second face-to-face meeting due to in fighting within the SDPBC itself.

    My husband was aware going into the interview that the SDPBC had issues with their accreditation (not having an accreditation specialist/manager for more than a year) but when I told him about this article he told me this was simply incompetence on a number of levels within the SDPBC and is something any competent accreditation specialist would have recognized, addressed, and reported immediately.

    The question now is whether the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation will strip the SDPBC, the nations 10th largest school district, of their accreditation as they did the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, the state’s largest police department, after their handling of the Parkland shooting and Fort Lauderdale airport shooting? Both agency’s demonstrated egregious failures of leadership that have and apparently continue to place Florida’s children and citizens at risk.

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