After visiting the scene of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, mass shooting, department brass are working to tighten security at city schools.
Parkland’s own Ground Zero” is Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 14 students and three staff members. Inspector Kevin Taylor, head of the NYPD’s school safety division, told The Post that several of his new initiatives are a direct result of his visit to the school.
“I am tasked with the security of 1.1 million students, plus the faculty, to protect them from whatever is out there,” Taylor stated after the trip, which took place from August 2 to August 7.
That means that in New York City, we can never afford to get this wrong. For Taylor, who is in charge of the more than 4,000 school safety agents and several police officers who protect the largest public school district in the country, the visit was especially upsetting.
“Everything was still the same—the blood is still there,” Taylor added, referring to a structure that has been kept as a crime scene. “No children, no one, should ever experience that.
The NYPD has taken steps to improve contact with the city Department of Education and install new security cameras in preparation for the start of the new school year. To continuously monitor the district’s 1,400 buildings, the department is also opening a cop-run school safety command center in Queens Plaza, a concept that was already in the works before the trip.
A number of Parkland families, including those of 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, who died during the attack by Cruz on February 14, 2018, invited Taylor, who traveled with two other police officers, to the school.