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Florida National Guard Asks Lawmakers For $2 Million To Make Sure Facilities Secure

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The Florida National Guard is asking the state legislature for $2 million to help make sure facilities are secure.

Months ago, Tennessee was rocked by deadly attacks at its military recruitment centers.

“This is the thing that really caused a ripple through the National Guard and through the reserves,” said Glenn Sutphin, the legislative director for the Florida Department of Military Affairs.

Speaking recently before the House Veteran and Military Affairs Subcommittee, he gave the panel an update on Florida’s progress since the attacks.

“Because of the [state] laws that you have, we were able to make sure to take quick action to make sure our troops were armed, and that full time people in the armories,” he added. “You come to our armory, you’re going to shoot us or you’re going to cause some problems, you’re probably going to have some problems yourself. That is one thing that a lot of states are envious of that we’re able to do that.”

Sutphin says it was a big help when Governor Rick Scott issued a couple of Executive Orders to help the armories. He says it also helped when the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services sped up the weapons permitting processes for people in the Florida National Guard.

“Because we were in the armories, we didn’t need to have concealed permits to carry a military weapon. It has to be shown. It can’t be concealed. And, then, of course, the Department of Agriculture worked with our people to make sure they had permits,” Sutphin continued.

In addition, Sutphin says the Guard currently has a $2 million request in to help make the armories and recruitment centers secure.

“So, that’s what we’re trying to do is to arm those up, ballistic glass, cameras that give us a little bit of standoff space,” he concluded. “You come to the door, the doors are locked now. You’ve got to ring a bill. Well, you’ve got a chance to look, not only at the person, you can look at the parking lots is what we’re asking for, and that way, you can see if there’s somebody out there with them that’s trying to stand to the side where you can’t see them, and you open the door and they come in, and unfortunately, you have an incident.”

Sutphin says the most vulnerable spots appear to be in Florida’s more urban areas.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.