POLK COUNTY, FL - Polk County leaders have invested millions of dollars to keep students and staff safe on campus by implementing a single point of entry system.
The system will implement added security measures on campus and create a single entrance to all Polk County schools.
Currently, 135 public and charter schools in the county fall under this category. 20 more schools are in the process of being updated.
Sheriff Grady Judd said school safety has been a long standing priority in the county.
"It is just one more tool. It's just one more way to slow down the evil person who wants to come into the school," Sheriff Judd said.
The improvements to the remaining schools will include additional fencing, construction, and a campus layout change at one school.
"We're still having to put some infrastructure in place, but our goal is that once school lets in the doors, the fences are all locked and you can only enter and leave the school from one location," Sheriff Judd said.
In almost seven months Polk County deputies have responded to seven school lockdowns. In all cases there was no immediate threat.
"If you plan out with enough detail you can create problems, but if we can slow you down and we've got all infrastructure in place, i.e.the well trained people with the firearm at the right place and time we can either mitigate or stop the carnage," Sheriff Judd said.
The cost for the changes can range from $14,000 to $100,000.
"Some of this comes from the local district, but the legislature donated a significant amount of money for the guardians too, for the training, and equipment so the state legislature has paid millions of upon millions of dollars to make security available," Sheriff Judd said.
Sheriff Judd acknowledged single entry points will not detour potential crimes, but it is another step in keeping children safe in the classroom.
"We have got to do everything we can to protect the children," Sheriff Judd said.