Door opened for more talks with DCPS, security contractor says, following I-TEAM report

Mayor & school district at standstill over active shooter security contract after 10 months

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – School campus safety is once again in the spotlight following the deadly shooting at a Nashville Christian school, and on Tuesday, the News4JAX I-TEAM reported that a $36,000 contract for active shooter training and campus evaluations in Duval County hasn’t been used 10 months after leaders announced it.

Duval County Public Schools administrators say they have their own safety measures that are up to state standards and that local campuses are protected.

The I-TEAM called all seven school board members, and they said the safety and security of students is a top priority. They said they might meet to discuss where DCPS stands with the contract.

Armoured One is the New York-based private security company behind all this. Mayor Lenny Curry, Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene and the Jacksonville City Council held a news conference in June after the school shooting in Uvalde, announcing the investment in training for all DCPS staff and campus safety evaluations.

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After that, the I-TEAM traveled to Armoured One’s headquarters to see their training and products. The company sells glass and film, which it says will stop or significantly slow down an attacker.

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Armoured One and the mayor’s office agreed to a nearly $200,000 contract, which was knocked down to about $36,000 after a grant and scholarship that was for online training and school safety assessments. The company would suggest infrastructure payments.

We confirmed Tuesday that DCPS has not moved forward with the contract, despite the city already paying for it.

Curry issued a statement that reads in part: “The City of Jacksonville and my administration have provided everything needed to take the first steps in implementing the comprehensive and proven program provided by Armoured One. The next step is full cooperation from Duval County Public Schools...”

Tom Czyz, the CEO of Armoured One, says his team is willing and ready to get involved.

“The point behind it is we look at Uvalde. They were relying on what the state of Texas and their local police told them to do. It’s good to have a third party,” Czyz said.

A statement from DCPS administrators reads in part:

“We have vetted the Armoured One offer provided by the city. We found their services to be similar to training and assessments we already have in place. Each year, teachers and school staff members must be trained on each school’s safety plan, and active shooter training is already part of those plans.”

We brought this to school board members. Chairwoman Dr. Kelly Coker sent this response:

“The safety and well-being of our students and staff are always at the forefront of our work as a board. As a board, we task our Superintendent, Dr. Diana Greene, with the implementation of the day-to-day logistics of our school safety plans… If the topic of the Armoured One training is the concern of a school board member we would always create the time to discuss that topic in an upcoming meeting.”

She pointed out that there’s ample training with the state’s Office of Safe Schools, which has strict requirements.

“The door was opened up for us to have more talks and make things work and be expedited,” Czyz said. “I look at what schools across the nation have to deal with and they do have a lot to schedule, especially a district of that size.”

The school board has its next full meeting on Tuesday, and they could discuss this then.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.