LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — A central Florida sheriff's office said Friday that it plans to train faculty at a local private university in law enforcement tactics and will consider them "special deputies" with the goal of stopping an active shooter.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office said it would train a certain number of faculty and staff at Southeastern University's campus in Lakeland, located between Orlando and Tampa.
The training would allow the faculty and staff to carry concealed firearms on campus.
"We know one more critical thing we can do to reduce the number of lives impacted in an active assailant incident is a shorter response time for the good guys to interrupt and stop the bad guy," said Sheriff Grady Judd at a news conference.
The sheriff's office said they will be considered "special deputies" with the limited purpose of providing university security.
University president Kent Ingle said the program will allow faculty and staff to respond to any threats.
"We are excited about this new program that will result in well trained staff being available on campus to rapidly respond to any active assailant threat," Ingle said.
The faculty and staff will undergo background checks, drug tests and psychological evaluations. They also will have 132 hours of training, and 100 hours of that will be devoted to firearms training.
The sheriff's office said it's the first program of its kind in the nation.
A spokeswoman for the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Kathryn Campbell, said in an email that she was unaware of any other university or college that has developed a program to train faculty and staff like that.