The Brevard County Sheriffs Office is once again leading the nation in protecting our children and grandchildren. Sheriff Wayne Ivey tells the Great American Senior Show's grey-haired host Sam Yates that the Resource Deputies in Brevard County Schools have an extra layer of protection should a school shooter threaten.
Cocoa firearm manufacturer KELTEC provides the weapons Deputies wear on their standard tactical school uniforms to provide immediate response to school threats.
Sheriff Ivey says the innovation is capturing the attention of law enforcement agencies nationwide while making sure Brevard children are safe.
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Hello, everyone, and welcome to another exciting edition of The Great American Senior Show. I've your gray haired host, Sam Yates. And it seems that everywhere I turn, I see Sheriff Wayne Ivey, whether it's in the newspaper, whether it's on some of the television ads, he is a man that is out there and in front of a lot of people. And that's good for our seniors, because that means that he's making an impact on their lives. And I'm going to touch on another little area because he's also touching the lives of our school children. So Sheriff IV, welcome back to the program, man.Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
Thanks, Sam. It's always great to be with you and appreciate what you do to help keep our seniors safe. And to partner with our agency. Man, we're blessed to have you.Sam Yates:
We're loving every minute of it. And by the way, the tropics are heating up a little bit, ladies and gentlemen. So if we have a hurricane or a tropical storm event, make sure that you check out our information that Europe IB has been so gracious to pass on about how we all of us can stay safe here in Brevard County. And you can share that information with anyone in the entire state because there's a lot of good information but specific to Brevard County. But today, for our grandparents and their children and grandchildren. I want to touch on school resource officers. I know that school is back in session. And we have a lot of communities where teachers are being armed, and other communities where they're experts protections that are going into place. What's happening in Brevard County.Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
So we just we just did something. And as much as far as I can tell, we're the first in the country to do it. And you know, Sam, as we look at what's unfolded over the past X number of years, and how schools, our school campuses have become target of mass killers and shooters, we needed to do something that really sends a message that this is not an easy target. You know, we tell our citizens, make your homes Hard Target make yourself hard targets so that burglars don't break in and you don't get robbed in the parking lot. Well, the same holds true of our schools. And so the way to create a hard target is to create layer after layer of protection. And Sunsoo says in the art of war, every battle is won or lost before it's ever fought. So to me the way to win the battle before we ever have to fight it is to a try and avoid having to fight it be be well prepared, well trained and well equipped in the event you do have to fight it. And so we you know, some years ago, even before parkland, we had started fortifying our school campuses, putting up fences, putting up security mechanisms, putting up technology driven things such as cameras and, and mutual link that helps connect all the agencies that might be responding to that. So all of those things go hand in hand. And again, I call it our bulletproof vest. If you know anything about a bulletproof vest, it's not just one layer of material, it's layer after layer of material that when woven together so strong and stops the penetration of a bullet or an edged weapon. So same thing goes for schools, one layer is not going to do it two layers is not gonna do we have to have multiple well defined layers. And so this latest layer that we've put on is something very unique. It's different throughout nobody from what I can tell has done it anywhere in the country. But we actually have changed our school resource deputies uniform to a more tactical uniform, that includes all their resources right up on a load bearing vest. And one of those resources is a Cal Tech subcompact 2000 rifle that is affixed right to the front of our vest. It follows if you if you've ever seen a subcompact KelTec subcompact, it folds in half. And when you unfold it, it's a rifle that accepts the magazine for our guns, and our Walthers. And it gives our team the ability to immediately address the threat of a long gun. Most of these shooters are coming on campus with long guns, whether they're a RS or whatever. Historically, what we'd had to do, Sam is we'd have had to run to our car to have equal firing power equal firing opportunity. We'd had to run to our car, get our AR, run back into campus, relocate the shooter and address the threat today. We don't have to do that. Once we transition to this new uniform in the next few weeks. We won't have to do that what we'll have to do is hope we never get that on our campus. The other part of this and again, it goes in line with Sunsoo is we win the battle by saying we're well prepared. We win the battle by sending a message that you bring that crap up in here, we're going to kill you. You're not coming in our schools, killing our kids and killing our teachers. We're not going to have it and and it's been just overwhelmingly well received by our community. other law enforcement agencies around the country are now looking at the the apparatus and looking at how we're doing it. And you know, our hope is that it keeps any incident from ever happening. But if an incident does that we're ready to respond. And there's a big difference between react and respond.Sam Yates:
Absolutely. And I preach that everywhere I go, as far as being prepared. So I hope that law enforcement agencies here throughout the state of Florida, as well as around the country, pay attention to that. And for those who might be considering being a bad person, you don't know what bad is until you see what that weapon could do. It is a deterrent.Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
Yeah, it really is. And our team is going to be very well trained with it. You know, as I said, we're transitioning to it right now. Like anything else in the country. We had some problems getting the equipment and not the guns, because Cal Tech's right here in our own community, and they stand ready to serve us and other agencies. But some of the other stuff that we needed, from the vest, the apparatus and everything else, but we'll be up and running. And again, I pray every night that we never have an incident like that, but we're going to be ready. And I believe that school resource deputies and officers and I say that because minor deputies, police departments or officers, but I believe that those men and women are some of the most courageous women in this job, and what they do each and every day, not just to protect a child from an active shooter. But what they do each and every day to get to these kids before they get to us is second to none is probably without question, if you had to, if you had to pull out and say what is the most important component of law enforcement today, I think it would be School Resource deputies.Sam Yates:
Now, I'm glad you positioned it that way. Because some people think of school resource, deputies, officers personnel as not prepared just totally the opposite. They are most prepared and it takes a special person to be that off. It does.Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
But you know, some of that is our fault. And when I say our fault, I don't mean the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. I mean the profession. Some of that is our fault, because we didn't put emphasis on those that were coming into that job for the longest time it was it was people that just wanted to go to that. So they you know, weren't responding to calls or they had a Monday through Friday assignment. We we shifted gears, after parkland, we started putting more emphasis on the qualifications of that actual physical tryouts for it, and even even promotion to go do it some money in their pocket for for taking on this challenge in this this thing. But, you know, their role is a very small part now certainly a vital part. But a very small part of their role is to keep an active shooter off the campus. The rest of their role is, you know, making building relationships and friendships with these children and partnerships with our teachers and our parents. And I learned a real strong lesson. A few years ago, we lost a great friend of mine. It's funny how our story intertwines. He actually ran against me the very first time for sheriff. And he I was blessed to win, and also blessed that he chose to stay with our agency, and we became the best difference. Unfortunately, we lost him a few years ago to cancer and it crushed me but I learned something. His name is Adrian moss Beasley and Adrian must be easily was almost seven foot tall. played football for WVU was a mountain of a man with the largest heart that you've ever seen. kind, gentle soul guy that you would love to go through the door with. But a guy you'd hate to see coming after you through the door, but also a guy that would give you the shirt off his back just that kind of person. Well, when he passed, I put up on our Facebook page and shared with our community that we lost him to a courageous battle with cancer. And in his time, he had been a court security officer. He had been a port deputy, a regular road deputy. And he had also served as a school resource deputy. There were over 1000 comments. And the overwhelming majority of them were not he helped me get on a cruise ship. Or he helped me find the courtroom. The overwhelming majority of those comments where he sat at my table and had lunch with me when nobody else would. He took my daughter to the father daughter dance after her father was killed in a car wreck. He caught brought peace to the school. It was 1000s of comments from students, former students, teachers and parents. And it showed me the true true value of a school resource deputy on a campus and I put great emphasis on it. I believe that what we saw in Uvalde was disappointing to say the least it was disgusting to say reality. But I am convinced in a hold dear to my heart, that if we ever, God forbid, had a similar situation, our team would be rushing through that door to save those lives.Sam Yates:
And I know they would, because it starts at the top, it's to paraphrase sudden, Sue, treat your team as if they were your sons, and they will follow you. And you will be the leader. And they will be the leaders in response to that. So I know that because I can see it in you. And I know that from other people in the department, I know. But that transitions us very easily into a recent appearance that you made at the Atlantis. School and you were there at Judy, we could hear in the background story from time to time, you and Judy were there. And you were talking to the students about bullying. Tell us what happened.Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
So you know, one of the things that we've started doing, and we actually started at pre COVID is a little program we call milk and donuts with the sheriff. And a lot of people accuse me of creating that program so I could have donuts. Sam, I'm not a dummy. You know, I mean, I know how to I know how to make this work. And so I love donuts, by the way, we call them power rings. It's more nutritious. But we we did that before COVID and COVID. Like everything else really, really impacted us. And so we're getting back in the swing of it and why this wasn't milk and donuts, this was an opportunity for me to go in and talk with these, the students and their teachers, and we talk about bullying and the you know, it's an anti bullying message. But here's here's where it goes further. The talk about bullying is probably about a 10 minute talk. Because these kids have heard from others don't bully they heard from educational materials don't bully they've heard from their parents don't bully. I seize the opportunity to talk to them briefly about it. But I also seize the opportunity to let them know what we do. And so once we do that little little arm talk, they get to ask me any question they want about my life, about my family about my dog about my job, anything and it's fascinating, the questions they ask. And you know, if we go back in time, 1520 years ago, and we did the same program, the kids would be asking, have you ever been shot? They would be asking, you know, have you been stabbed? Have you shot? Anybody? Those will be the questions 1520 years ago. What do you think's the most common question I get when we go into these schools from these elementary school students? What do you think it is?Sam Yates:
Am I safe?Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
Not No, that's not it? Because I think the teachers create an environment of safety. Our school resource deputies do that as well. The number one question, and it almost never fails, is why do I have two phones? They look at my gun belt. And they see that I have two phones. Excellent question. And and the reason I think that is is because it tells us what our children are focused on today. Technology phones, that's where their messaging a lot of it comes from. And of course, I tell them once for work, and once for my wife and my political stuff. And then I always ask him, if both of them ring at the same time, which one do I answer? And it's amazing how smart these kids are, because they always say the one your wife's calling off. So you know, these, these are smart kids. This is our future.Sam Yates:
In past classrooms, I would presume that a lot of students, a lot of our children, were asking how they can become members of the law enforcement community? Are they still asking that question?Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
I do. You know, they mentioned that, you know, they would like to some of them want to be firefighters. Of course we talk them out of that. Because, you know, that's actually we always tell people that those that become firefighters couldn't pass the police test is what we tell them. But you know, it's anything from they want to be firefighters, to doctors, to the military. It's amazing how many of our young students want to be in the military, to veterinarians, to software engineers, to professional gamers, bloggers, all of those things. There's a wide, wide variety of things. But we certainly still have that huge volume of people that want to want to be what we get to be, and that's being law enforcement officers. So regardless of what they what they want to be, you know, whether it's firefighter or military or whatever, I always tell them look, you know, there's a good chance that you're gonna change your mind 1000 times in between now and and what you actually become, but whatever it is, find a job that you love, and then you never have a job. You have fun.Sam Yates:
That is so true. And I have to share if I haven't shared it already. During all of my junior and high school days. I wanted to be a game warden. And it was something that I just drifted away from and fell into something that I love doing. But you're right. Today's kids have so many different choices. So it's good to see it good to hear that they are still Looking to those professional categories,Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
so you know, you brought up what you wanted to be. My sophomore, junior and senior years of high school, I was actually an apprentice embalmer at the funeral home up in little town, I was born and raised in green Cove Springs, Florida. And I was going to be a mortician, and I was actually enrolled at Gupton, Jones college and mortuary science went out road with a buddy of mine, that was a cop. And that night, we got a car chase, and it was just awesome. And I was hooked. And here I sit 42 years later from well,Sam Yates:
as you probably know, the Yates family has a long history of funeral homes, down south of where we are here now. And that was something that, that I know, it takes a lot of fortitude to do, but it was never anything that I drifted towards. And so I have to admire you for that. That's a tough job. You know, it'sSheriff Wayne Ivey:
a God has a way of preparing us. Yes, we're really supposed to do. And I learned so much working, there's so much about compassion, so much about handling a lot of the stressors with sense of humor, and things that have really served me well in my career and certainly served me well now. So you know, it was a great time a great lesson and something that I look back on very fondly in my life.Sam Yates:
You know, you have through our conversations, help repair our seniors, our communities, we know about what's going on in our schools or resource officers and the list goes on and on and on. I'm very fortunate to be able to sit down with you and take some of your time to, to share that. I want to turn the tables, because it's very important that as our community learns more about you and the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, how can they support both the sheriff's office? And if there's a way they can support you personally? How do they do that?Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
Well, you know, this is Brevard County. And they already do that. And I say that, Sam because I think we are blessed more than any other law enforcement agency in this country to have a community. As I always say, at the same exact way, we have a community that loves us, trust us and protects us just as much as we love, trust and protect them. And in today's time, in today's world, serving as a law enforcement officer in a community that embraces that concept is is the greatest gift you could ever have. So we you know, our Deputies tell us that they can, they can barely pay for their meals anymore in a restaurant, because citizens are lined up three and four deep to pay for that. They you know, are pumping their gas and somebody says, you know, I got your back, people stop and thank them, they make cookies and everything else, and they delivered doughnuts to our precincts, you know, all of all of those things. That's the world we live in. And that's the greatest thing we could ever have. The second thing that that? Fortunately, we don't have to talk about a lot. But the second thing that makes that so unique for us, is our citizens listened to us. You know, a few few times ago, in hurricanes, we had a hurricane that was, you know, taken aim at us. And the county commissioners at the direction of the then EOC director decided to do a county ordinance for a curfew. And so I got wind of it. I called up, you know, each of the commissioners individually. And I said, Why are you doing this? They said well, you know, keep you from going out and and vandalizing and stealing and everything. And I said a curfew doesn't keep bad people at home that bad people don't obey the laws in the first place. They're certainly not going to obey an ordinance. And so the only thing you did was just tell the citizens that we don't trust them. And I said we we do trust them and our citizens listened to us. And you need to resend the the curfew. And so I met with some resistance I finally said, you can pass any curfew you want. But we're not putting anybody in jail for that. And so I would just go ahead and rescind it before you look foolish. So they did they rescinded it. Every county around us had a curfew but not us. We never had a single problem because our citizens listened to us. And those that don't listen to us aren't going to listen to a county ordinance or law, they're going to end up in jail is what is so our citizens are a blessing to us. They really are and we have great, we really do.Sam Yates:
And I have to tell you, I hear that in the community here over and over and over again. So I want to add my two cents worth that whatever I can do. I will continue to do in this community and wherever I am to speak about what you are doing. And ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to have to confess something here and it's probably going to get me into trouble. But my wife has has been battling some issues and last week she was hospitalized and this week she is out of the hospital doing quite well. When she found out that I was going to be here today she said you will not leave the House this morning without cookies, and it's one of those good things, bad things. The good thing is that I don't eat the cookies. And the bad thing is I'm on a diet. So the diet is giving the cookies away. So I haven't brought cookies for you and your staff today.Sheriff Wayne Ivey:
Yeah. And just to make matters worse, he's had them sitting in front of me the whole time. So, you know, I, I've been watching them, and they look delicious. And certainly thank you thank your wife for bringing them to us. I always tell everybody that they're like, oh, maybe you shouldn't eat sweets. And I'm like, Look, people love a fat chair, if you know. So, if I lost weight, it may not be the well. So yes, but we appreciate you and thanks for all you do for us and to your your credit. You know, the solution to any problem we have in this world is education and awareness. So what you do for us in this role is providing a great resource to our citizens and we appreciate it.Sam Yates:
That begs the question, you'll be back for another episode of retiring baby. Absolutely pleasant to hear that. So, in the meantime, until that next episode, I'm Sam Yates, your gray hair and host of the great American senior show. That's the way our program ends.