Local school police on lookout for red flags amid threats around the state

Red flags for school police

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It was an eye-opening moment for a mother and son. A video captured deputies from Volusia County as they interviewed the 15-year-old boy and his mother before taking the teen into custody for allegedly posting an online threat to kill at least seven people at a high school.

Just last week, authorities in Manatee County investigated a possible threat at Palmetto High School. Though Palmetto Police said there were no actual threats of a shooting, there were a lot of false rumors going on around social media and over text message.

It’s a reality all over the country as law enforcement agencies grapple with investigating any possible threat.

“We’re looking at specific phrases and tag lines or anything that we might be able to look. We’re looking for the obvious, like a gun or phrases like we’re going to do this or do that,” said Sarasota County Schools Police Chief Tim Enos.

The district’s police force is now fully staffed, with at least one SRO at each school. They say they’re on the lookout at all times.

“We do have through FortifyFL, which is an anonymous tip reporting so that anyone can send in and attach screenshots. We receive a lot of tips through that, as well as through social sentinel which is an application program which we’re also monitoring,” said Enos.

They also remind everyone that in Florida, it’s a felony to make any written threats of mass shootings.

“We don’t want to have to go through a situation where it falls through the cracks, that someone was identified or the threat was made and we didn’t investigate but ultimately, it’s a serious offence now,” he said.

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