Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has a new plan to help prevent more mass shootings occurring in schools.
His goal: to train and arm school faculty members who volunteer to become “special deputies.” These faculty members will first go through an extensive background check and mental health testing before they will be able to volunteer.
The faculty members will also go through extensive training, thereby allowing them to carry firearms with them for the sole purpose of taking down mass shooters.
Known as the “Sentinel Program,” Judd’s plan has been expanding this week to include Webber International University – an 800-person college close to Babson Park, Florida.
During the intense 132 hours of training, volunteers will encounter a heavier load of firearms knowledge and practice than even at the state’s law enforcement academy. The faculty members will also fire over 1,000 rounds during the course of their training.
The stakes are higher for high school faculty volunteers, too. Each volunteer will need to receive at least an 85 percent on their qualifications. This is higher then the score of 80 percent that law academy students typically need to achieve.
In addition, volunteers of the Sentinel Program will also engage in more in-depth active shooter training than most law enforcement academy students will have to.
According to Guns.com:
According to the WIU’s 2016 safety report, the campus, which has full-time security, saw only two documented criminal offenses that year, both drug-related. The school is the second in the county to enter the program, which was established by Judd in two years ago. The inspiration for the program comes from a U.S. Justice Department study that found that in 107 out of 160 active shooter incidents, the shooting was over before police arrived to engage the threat and that events typically lasted less than five minutes.
The subject of campus carry in Florida has been contentious with both concealed and open carry banned by law with exceptions in place only for law enforcement. Lawmakers have repeatedly attempted to pass legislation to allow some form of legal carry since 2010 but, despite a shooting on the campus of Florida State University four years ago, have been unsuccessful.
In the aftermath of a high-profile school shooting last week in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead, many have advocated stepping up campus security measures. Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight has announced a “quasi-school security program” to that put retired law enforcement and military veterans on school campuses in that Florida county while the Broward County Sheriff has armed qualified deputies at schools there with AR-15s. Law enforcement in other states are making similar recommendations.
Both President Trump and Vice President Pence have addressed their concerns on the matter, with the prospect of armed teachers floated.