In 1957, the position of Security Assistant was established as a position responsible directly to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Security Assistant acted as liaison between Dade County Schools, law enforcement agencies and other governmental agencies to ensure the timely flow of information. Additionally, the position supplied law enforcement with technical knowledge to the Plant Security Substation of Operations and Maintenance and other departments within the School District. Numerous other activities included investigations as directed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction; assisting the State Attorneys Office with investigations; and working closely with the Personnel Department on screening School District applicants.
In 1966, the title and function of the Security Assistant was changed to the Director of Security and a few years later the School Board established the Security Services Department placing the Director of Security in charge. The new Department responsibilities included the protection of students, staff members and the school public as well as the protection of school property.
In 1973, a night patrol was established. During the same time, nineteen commission officers or approximately 35% of the total work force was involved in “follow-up investigations” or personnel investigations. That same year, two security officers were assigned to each of the eight secondary schools for the purpose of reducing or eliminating assaults.
The reassignment of personnel from the night patrol to selected schools during the hours when teachers and students were actively participating in the educational process was a major progressive move at that time. The move represented a shift in the emphasis of the school system and the Security Services Division from property protection to protection of students and staff.
In 1979, the Security Services Division was renamed the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) of the Dade County Public Schools.
In 1984, SIU started to increase in manpower based on the needs of the School District and the decreasing response time from local law enforcement agencies.
In 1992, the Superintendent of Schools made a commitment to the School Board to provide a police officer to every secondary school campus, as a measure of providing a safe learning environment. During this time, SIU had an organizational restructure and became the Division of School Police.
In 1999, due to the growth of the Department, Uniform Crime Reporting was established and implemented. Reports were also redesigned to meet the very unique needs of the School District and the School Police Automated Reporting System (SPAR) was created to capture all necessary requirements for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Education.
The color of police uniforms were changed from brown to blue in assuring that Department sworn personnel were recognized with their counterparts in local law enforcement as certified police officers.In addition to the change in uniform color, the Department badge was redesigned to represent the rich heritage and commitment to school policing. Depicted in the background of the new police badge is Miami Senior High, established in 1902 as the first high school in the County.
In 2000, the newly named Miami-Dade Schools Police Department entered a new era.A progressive Investigative Division was formed, the K-9 Unit was expanded, new vehicles were ordered, and millions of dollars in state and federal grants were received to improve technology and facilities.
The Department continues to implement innovations and strategies, as well as involvement in numerous mutual aid police operations with Federal, State and local law enforcement.This philosophy has made Miami-Dade Schools Police Department a nationally recognized leader in the area of school policing.