At Tuesday night’s meeting, the School Board of Alachua County (SBAC) appointed a new chief of safety and school security.
The board voted unanimously to pass Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) Superintendent Shane Andrew’s recommendation to approve the administrative appointment of Douglas Pelton.
“Mr. Pelton believes that by helping others, we help ourselves,” Andrew said during the meeting. “He is driven to succeed and has a passion for promoting and contributing to the success of others. He is motivated to provide dedication, loyalty, and professionalism required for the position, chief of safety and school security for Alachua County Public Schools.”
Pelton took to the podium to express his gratitude.
“I’d like to thank you very much for being so welcoming to me in these initial days,” Pelton said during the meeting. “I have jumped right in and started working on the district and Florida’s safe schools’ assessment test, and I think everything is on a good track. I am positive about where we are headed.”
Pelton graduated from Leesburg High School in Lake County. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration with a minor in Arson Investigation and a master’s degree in Public Administration, a NASPAA accredited program, with a minor concentration in Criminal Justice, all from Columbia Southern University.
He is currently enrolled in the Florida State University certified public manager program.
Most recently, he served Orange County Public Schools in its district police department, where he worked for the district weapon screening program.
Pelton began his new position on Monday. He plans to use the tools and guidelines given by the department of education and officers of safe schools to keep the students out of harm’s way.
He mentioned one of those tools is the threat assessment process that the schools have in place to address threats and provide services for students who need them.
“My take on the safety in school security position is prevention through early intervention and being prepared,” Pelton said in an interview. “We are there to ensure the actual building and the facility is safe and secure so that nobody can infringe on it to cause harm to the children.”
Pelton’s hire comes a year after Reginald Javon Copeland Jr., 17, was accused of threatening to bomb Eastside High School.
Copeland was arrested in late 2021 on felony counts of making a false report about planting an explosive and sending written threats to do bodily harm or kill.
A year after his arrest, prosecutors dropped these felony charges against the teenager due to the lack of knowing who was behind the laptop’s keyboard used to send threats.