After Texas school shooting, Tampa Bay officials will step up security

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Published May 18 2018
Updated May 18 2018

Hours after Friday’s deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, bay area law enforcement officials pledged to beef up school security for the last remaining days of the school year.

Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister held a news conference late Friday and said talks were already underway to eventually add security cameras, upgrade fences and reduce the number of entrances and exits in schools.

He said a school resource officer is already stationed at every middle school and high school and in half of all elementary schools in his agency’s jurisdiction. But staring Monday, he said all schools will see more deputies.

"We, along with the school district, are taking every step necessary to make sure every student and parent are comforted in the knowledge that we are doing everything to keep them safe," Chronister said.

Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan said in a statement that all of Hillsborough County’s agencies were "on the same page."

"While there are no threats to our schools, we’ve all agreed we’re going to take a proactive approach," the chief said. "Students and teachers should be able to go to school and feel safe, and parents should feel comfortable sending their children to school."

St. Petersburg police said they also intend to increase their presence and visibility at local schools. That includes elementary schools, where officers are not currently stationed, but will start parking there and checking the campus perimeters, said police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said his agency would also step up its presence.

"While there are no current threats against Pasco County schools, out of an abundance of caution, in light of the tragedy today at Santa Fe High School ... we will have a heavy law enforcement presence near schools throughout Pasco County for the remainder of the school year," he said in a statement.

Friday’s attack reportedly left nine students and one teacher dead and 10 wounded. One of the wounded was a police officer who authorities said confronted the shooter.

Contact Jonathan Capriel at 813-225-3141 or jcapriel@tampabay.com. Follow @jonathancapriel.

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