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North Port focused on school safety

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Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 6:00 pm | Updated: 10:17 pm, Tue Jan 8, 2013.

SARASOTA COUNTY - In North Port, law enforcement says they are doing everything they can to keep schools safe. It includes check-ins at elementary schools and extra resource officers on some campuses.

"They see us every single day. Just as they would their teachers." Officer Floyd Davidson walks the North Port High School campus every single day. He's not alone. 2,300 hundred students, faculty, and some back up.

"We are fortunate enough to have two full time SRO's here at North Port High School. We also have a K-9 officer that spends a lot of time here. We have some resources maybe other places don't." One of them happens to be his brother Robert. "We work pretty well together. We are pretty close."

Since the Sandy Hook shooting, all are more aware. "We are being more visible. Being seen more around campus. More officers around the school at release times and drop off times. Reviewing our policies on safety and security."

North Port has invested resources in trying to keep their campuses safe. They have armed resource officers at both middle schools and as part of patrols officers stop by at the five elementary schools throughout the day. Something not typically done in other areas.

"The feeling to me is above and beyond." North Port High principal David Jones says having the presence early on and through high school means more then a gun and badge. "It makes a huge difference. Those connections those kids get from the earliest and youngest days until high school. There is a sense these are reliable people we can count on."

Since the shooting in Connecticut the school has dealt with a bomb threat which led to an arrest. Davidson says you have to be ready for anything. "There are our own things that happen here. Just like a small city would have."

School officials tell us having the extra security helps students focus on what they are here for, which is of course learning. This year North Port High for example earned an "A" rating.

Later this month, the Sarasota County school district will be holding a workshop to discuss and review overall safety and security in all of its schools.

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