Polk County Deputizes Citizens in Program Aimed at Stopping Potential Campus Dangers

One Florida university will have extra security on campus this coming here – and it will be provided by those not wearing a police badge.

Nine faculty and staff members from Southeastern University in Lakeland became the first graduates of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office’s “Sentinel Program”, which allows them to carry a concealed firearm on campus for the purpose of responding to an active assailant on campus to stop a “potential deadly threat”, according to NBC affiliate WFLA-TV.

The program comes after the Florida Legislature failed to pass bills that would have allowed for concealed carry of weapons on university campuses in the state. SEU is a private, Christian based college that moved to Central Florida from Alabama in 1946.

Sheriff Grady Judd created the program based off a state statute that allows him to designate “special deputies” for specific reasoning. The nine members, who went through 132 hours of firearms training and safety programs as well as extensive background checks, drug testing and psychological evaluations, will have no authority to act in any capacity other than an immediate deadly threat on campus.

Members of the program can be removed for a number of reasons, including being arrested and mental issues that require them to be hospitalized under the Baker Act.

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