VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood commented Friday on the recent shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, telling residents he won’t hesitate in the case of a similar shooting there.
In the Uvalde shooting, police waited for more than 40 minutes before heading into the classroom the shooter barricaded himself in.
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Chitwood said he wants Volusia County residents to know there would be no delay if a shooting like that happened there.
“When you hear the director of public safety in Texas get out there and say, ‘Mistakes were made,’ and he knows a lot more than he’s telling us — that sends a shockwave through law enforcement,” Chitwood said.
Chitwood sent out a Twitter post Friday afternoon assuring the county that “I will do it myself” if the situation called for it.
My pledge to you is you will never see @VolusiaSheriff deputies stand by while a mass shooter wipes out a classroom. We will stop the threat. I will do it myself if I’m the 1st one there. Deputies are well-trained & equipped to take action, not to stand down for an active killer.— Mike Chitwood (@SheriffChitwood) May 27, 2022
“The first deputy has a moral and ethical obligation to go. We even give you tourniquets — ‘cause God forbid — if you go in and get shot, the next person in the door is not coming to help you,” he said. “They are going to take out the threat, and you have to be able to dress your own wounds until we neutralize the threat.”
According to Chitwood, his deputies train three times per year for an active shooter situation. Chitwood stated each deputy has ready access to a handgun, a long gun and plenty of ammunition.
“Our deputies are extremely well trained, and they are extremely well equipped, and we have great leadership that we would not allow something like that to occur,” he said. “We would use everything in our power to get in there to stop it.”
Volusia County schools have at least one person armed at each school, which could include a deputy, a police officer or a guardian.
“I just can’t imagine. We’ve all done it: as parents, you drop your kid off at school, kiss him goodbye. ’I’ll pick you up at 2:30,’ and 2:30 doesn’t come. I just can’t imagine for any parent who has lost a child this way,” he said.
Volusia County bulked up its training after 17 people were killed at a school in Parkland in 2018 — that’s when the justice department spent nearly one billion dollars on grants for law enforcement agencies to train for active shooter situations.