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Sarasota Sheriff wants to bring deputies out of retirement to help with school safety

Posted at 2:54 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 23:40:49-05

Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight is looking to past law enforcement officers to help with a current problem. He wants to bring about two dozen deputies out of retirement and bring them onto high school campuses.

"We have lots of retired law enforcement who come into this community and they want to help,” said Knight.

The retirees would work part-time and they would only intervene if there was an active threat on a school campus. Knight said it would be similar to a “flight marshal” on an airline.

"They just blend in and they are there, so we would train them, put them in put them in active shooter trainings just like our deputies,” said Knight.

There are some hurdles before Knight’s plan could become reality.

"The laws constricts us right now from having people carry concealed weapons on campus,” said Knight.

But he’s hoping lawmakers will change their minds on this issue.

“Certainly sitting back and saying we won’t try something different is not a good thing, that's not working,” said Knight.

Scott Ferencz, of Parrish, is a Marine veteran who retired after serving 20 years with the Florida Department of Corrections. He immediately reached out to the sheriff's office after seeing Sheriff Knight's Facebook post Tuesday. 

"I was like, this is a way for us to give back," said Ferencz. "This is a way for us to protect our local children."

Ferencz wasn't looking for a life of leisure when he retired. 

"You can only take so many strolls around the neighborhood until you start going a little stir crazy sitting in the house," said Ferencz. 

And seeing the images of dead and wounded children in Parkland last week has made him even more committed to helping. 

"Their lives were just starting to blossom and now they're gone," said Ferencz. "And there's nothing we can do for them, but there's things we can do for future children."