“It only works where you have people very adapted using firearms, of which you have many, and it would be teachers and coaches. If the coach had a firearm when he ran at this guy that coach was very brave, saved a lot of lives I suspect, but if he would’ve had a firearm he wouldn’t have had to run. He would’ve shot and that would be the end of it.”
Those are the words President Donald Trump spoke back in February to a room full of people, including students, after the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida where a student walked into the high school and opened fire killing 17 people and injuring 17 others . A tragedy such as this is enough to make many abandon reason and look for any strategy to protect America’s children.
However, leaders are expected to resign the knee-jerk reaction to respond with any old solution. Trump’s suggestion of turning teachers into law enforcement officers sent shockwaves around the country. Local leaders everywhere, especially in Florida, were drilled about whether or not they agree with the President. Orlando was no different. Chief John Mina of the Orlando Police Department said, “I’m not for arming teachers.” Many Orange county leaders agree with that assessment. Mina added, “Your children are our most precious commodity. We need to use technology in ways we haven’t before. It’s the age that we’re in now.” Mina would like to see a school resource officer and a deputy in every single school. Some community leaders have said to use the guardian protection program which is a group of retired officers and Mina said that’s an option, too.
According to the City of Orlando’s website, Mina served in the 82nd Airborne Division as a Military Police Officer. After joining the Orlando Police Department he worked in the division of Sex Crimes, Crimes Against Children, the Community Policing Division, Training Unit, Drug Enforcement, he served as the Staff Director for the Chief of Police and was Division Commander of the North Patrol. Mina was also Team Commander of the SWAT Team.
With that extensive history of experience, Mina put in his resignation, earlier this year, at the Orlando Police Department to run a campaign to be elected the next Sheriff of Orange county. That decision led some residents to question who the next police chief will be. The next chief is chosen by the city Mayor, Buddy Dyer, and will come from a candidate already within the police department.
On the other hand, with elections on the horizon, residents are vocalizing their position on what qualities they want their next Sheriff to display.
Florida has gained the unfortunate reputation of being the stage of mass shootings. Just last Sunday, a mass shooting occurred in Jacksonville at a gaming tournament at the Jacksonville Landing where 2 are confirmed dead and 11 injured. All to often it takes an incident like this to demand the attention of voters when it comes to law enforcement in local communities. However, in communities of color mass shootings sometimes rank behind racial profiling. Although communities in Orlando are policed based on the request of residents, there is still a concern about profiling people of color.
Although many in the county believe Mina holds these qualities, Cynthia Harris, Executive Director of Carson-Chaney House and an Orange county voter said, “The next Sheriff must have integrity and trust within the Black community. We must have a relationship with the understanding that we won’t be profiled because of the community we come from without harassment and still feel safe. Our next Sheriff must be the people’s Sheriff without influence of establishment politicians who can relate to all need of its citizens.”
This article is part two of a three part series.