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.
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.
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