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In Polk County, We Take Care of Our Own

 

While some school districts are struggling with the politics of protecting their kids from shooters in schools, Florida has taken action. Here in Polk County, the Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies will be hiring citizens to be part of the Guardians Program. When they put the call out, 400 people applied for the 90 positions.

The program was enacted in response to the Parkland school shooting. Applicants will be put through a rigorous screening process, including psychological testing. These employees will be hired in addition to the school resource officers in place. Here is a partial job description:

Guardians won’t have the power to make arrests, but they will be in uniform and carry guns while protecting elementary schools. Training, which lasts approximately three weeks, includes 80 hours of basic firearms training, 16 hours of precision pistol training, eight hours of defensive tactics and 12 hours of legal issues.

School safety guardians will be School District employees with the same benefits as other employees. Starting annual pay is $30,000 for 10 months of work and two months off for the summer. The total benefit package is valued at $40,000.

People from all ages and walks of life have applied. The Rev. Stephen Bolden, 43, believes he will have time to run his church and serve the District. Another applicant, Alexandra Ramos, who will enter Florida Southern College as a junior in the fall, is a retired Marine and can handle an M16 rifle.

I’m proud to live in a state that makes the safety of our children a priority.

Published in Guns
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There are 13 comments.

  1. Thatcher

    Great stuff, SQ! Way to go Polk County! (Slight quibble: “Marine” and “retired”…You’re not “former” unless you’re disgraced or deceased, just sayin’.) :-)

    • #1
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:18 am
    • 4 likes
  2. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):

    Great stuff, SQ! Way to go Polk County! (Slight quibble: “Marine” and “retired”…You’re not “former” unless you’re disgraced or deceased, just sayin’.) :-)

    Oh, my bad!! Thank you for pointing that out, @nandapanjandrum. Fixed! ;-)

    • #2
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:44 am
    • 2 likes
  3. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I wrote to the author of The Ledger article because I was confused about the use of School Resource Officers and the new Guardians, and he quickly responded:

    Susan, thanks for reading and reaching out with your question. The article should have made it clear that the safety guardians will work at elementary schools, and the School Resource Officers will be stationed at middle schools and high schools. The School District has had resource officers on the job for a number of years. They were spread out at different schools across the county, and were available at elementary schools on demand. I don’t think any of them were stationed permanently at elementary schools, though. The guardian program is new. Since they’re not real law enforcement officers, the district felt it would be best to put them on elementary school campuses, and reserve the resource officers for the higher grades. Hope that clears things up.

    • #3
    • June 12, 2018 at 10:05 am
    • 1 like
  4. Coolidge

    At our monthly school board meeting last night we learned that district parents overwhelmingly support arming staff members. So we have a lot of work to do, but I’m encouraged by the positive response.

    • #4
    • June 12, 2018 at 10:18 am
    • 4 likes
  5. Contributor

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I wrote to the author of The Ledger article because I was confused about the use of School Resource Officers and the new Guardians, and he quickly responded:

    Susan, thanks for reading and reaching out with your question. The article should have made it clear that the safety guardians will work at elementary schools, and the School Resource Officers will be stationed at middle schools and high schools. The School District has had resource officers on the job for a number of years. They were spread out at different schools across the county, and were available at elementary schools on demand. I don’t think any of them were stationed permanently at elementary schools, though. The guardian program is new. Since they’re not real law enforcement officers, the district felt it would be best to put them on elementary school campuses, and reserve the resource officers for the higher grades. Hope that clears things up.

    Oh. Unstated is that school resource officers are not just there to prevent or stop shooters. They are school cops. They bust juveniles who are being delinquent. In so doing, they may make school safer by deterring gangs. The K-6 set are just below the gang and delinquent radar, so far, I believe. Hence guards without arrest power focused there.

    • #5
    • June 12, 2018 at 10:36 am
    • 3 likes
  6. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    Oh. Unstated is that school resource officers are not just there to prevent or stop shooters. They are school cops. They bust juveniles who are being delinquent. In so doing, they may make school safer by deterring gangs. The K-6 set are just below the gang and delinquent radar, so far, I believe. Hence guards without arrest power focused there.

    I think that you are right! That would make sense. Thanks, @cliffordbrown

    • #6
    • June 12, 2018 at 11:08 am
    • 2 likes
  7. Member

    Maybe I should move to Florida. 

    • #7
    • June 12, 2018 at 11:48 am
    • 3 likes
  8. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Maybe I should move to Florida.

    We have a guest room if you’d like to check it out! I’ll even offer to fight off the alligators for you!

    • #8
    • June 12, 2018 at 11:52 am
    • 3 likes
  9. Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Maybe I should move to Florida.

    So far I haven’t committed a crime bad enough to be sent to Florida for it. (I’ve been saying that for so long that I’m tired of hearing myself say it. I was saying it long before I broke down twelve years ago and visited the Apalachicola area with my wife. It was actually kind of nice back then, but has probably been developed a lot since then. And I’m not sure if it counted as Florida.) 

    • #9
    • June 12, 2018 at 1:21 pm
    • 2 likes
  10. Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: I’m proud to live in a state that makes the safety of our children a priority.

    This country is blessed with an abundance of senior citizens looking for work, be it volunteer, or paid. Any punk with a gun looking to shoot up a school should be very afraid of a grey-haired, pony-tailed guy wearing an “I served in Vietnam” tee shirt patrolling the hallways of said school.

    • #10
    • June 13, 2018 at 2:09 pm
    • 3 likes
  11. Member

    Nice. Israel did this in the early Eighties, with the IDF offering training to any family members who wanted to help protect school children. The image of a Jewish grandma pulling a Glock out of her waistband and dealing with a suicide bomber is pleasing, and it has happened more than once. Never underestimate a Jewish grandma.

     

    • #11
    • June 14, 2018 at 6:35 am
    • 2 likes
  12. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Nice. Israel did this in the early Eighties, with the IDF offering training to any family members who wanted to help protect school children. The image of a Jewish grandma pulling a Glock out of her waistband and dealing with a suicide bomber is pleasing, and it has happened more than once. Never underestimate a Jewish grandma.

    The Israelis know how to take care of business, especially when it comes to their kids. They have always needed to protect themselves, even before they became a state. Thanks, @douglaspratt.

     

    • #12
    • June 14, 2018 at 7:32 am
    • 1 like
  13. Member

    Same thing in our county in NW Fl – they cancelled the usual summer camps to put money, resources and people in place to train over the summer and be ready to man the schools in September. We have to do something – this cannot keep happening.

    • #13
    • June 14, 2018 at 8:59 am
    • 2 likes