School Resource Officers in Nassau County train for safe return to school

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — When it comes to school-going children, safety in school is always in the mind of every parent.

Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, high school districts must either have a school resource officer or a Florida-certified guardian in every school.

Action News Jax’s Alicia Tarancon looked into the training that officers in Nassau undergo to protect students.

We learned that most of the training focuses heavily on active shooter situations.

School Resource Officer Daniel Jones is no stranger to the hallways of West Nassau High School.

The Nassau County native graduated from there in 2002.

“I was a little bit of a knucklehead back when I started the school year and I eventually got better,” said Jones.

It’s one of the main reasons he can relate so well to students.

“From being in the school, being part of the community, I went to school with a lot of these kids’ parents. I just know the families just sharing different experiences with them,” he said.

School resource officers get additional training from the Nassau County Sheriff’s office.

It is a little but different ball game dealing with younger kids.

The focus is on juvenile crimes, and the problems young people deal with at home that are often brought to school.

Even before the school year starts, SROs are trained and re-trained.

That training is especially important if the worst happens, an active shooter situation.

“It’s very important that they have the skills necessary to handle an active assailant by themselves. They are usually at the school by themselves, and they won’t have time to call for backup before we actually have to go handle that event if, God forbid, it does ever happen,” Sgt. Joshua Courchene of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office training unit said.

With school back in session, Jones says he’s looking forward to what he missed the most – mentoring kids and watching them grow up.

“It’s just good to see them succeed. Whether it be sports, band, theater, academics, it’s just fun to get to see them do their thing,” Jones said.

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is fully staffed with five school resource officers.

The Fernandina Beach Police Department also has two school resource officers and there are also guardians stationed in all the elementary schools.