Growing FL initiative lets college staffers carry on campus
- Webber International University recently became the second college in Florida to sign up for a program that allows trained staff members to carry firearms on campus.
- The "Sentinel Program," offered through the Polk County Sheriff's Office, provides comprehensive training to volunteer participants and authorizes them to serve as "special deputies" in the event of an active assailant incident on campus.
Two Florida universities have now joined a voluntary program that would make it possible for trained staff to carry firearms on campus.
According to FOX 13, Webber International University announced its partnership with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office last week, a move that would expand the experimental Sentinel Program that was first implemented in the summer of 2017.
The latest move makes Webber only the second school in Florida to implement the program after Southeastern University announced its participation in the police initiative last year.
According to the project’s description, those who wish to participate in the Sentinel Program “will be given 100 hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training for the purpose of providing security on campus during an active assailant incident.”
Since Florida does not allow anyone to carry firearms on campus with the exception of law enforcement officials, the participants will be given a rank of volunteer “Special Deputies,” and will have “no authority to act in any law enforcement capacity outside of an active assailant incident on campus.”
"We're gonna send the message to those people that you're not coming onto a campus being the only person on the campus with a firearm," said Sheriff Grady Judd, as reported by FOX 13. "Gun control is clearly in place on school campuses in the state of Florida. How did that work last week in Broward County?"
The project’s description page further notes that the 100-hour firearm training threshold provides “25 percent more instruction than the standard that is required for certified law enforcement officers,” adding that participants “will also be required to complete 32 hours of deadly force training.”
"Everyone just has to ask themselves that question: My babies, your babies, are in that classroom and that active shooter is coming down the hallway with that thousand-yard stare and that gun in their hand,” Sheriff Judd remarked. “Do you want somebody to step out and stop him? Or do you want him to go into that classroom and slaughter your babies? That's where we are with that issue today."