Second Polk County school to join Sentinel Program

A second Polk County school is joining a voluntary program to allow staff to bring guns to work.

Webber International University and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced the partnership Thursday morning as the school plans to expand the Sentinel Program.

The voluntary program launched last summer and the first partnership formed with Southeastern University.

Florida law doesn’t allow you to carry a gun on school property unless you are a law enforcement member. The Sentinel Program gets around that by making staffers “special deputies.” 

"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 Judd Wednesday. "Gun control is clearly in place on school campuses in the state of Florida. How did that work last week in Broward County?" he said. 

Volunteers will go through rigorous training that is more intense than what deputies experience, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

"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. Do you want somebody to step out and stop him? Or do you want him to go into that classroom and slaughter your babies?" Sheriff Judd added.  "That's where we are with that issue today."