Florida tax collector will allow employees to carry firearms

A Florida tax collector says a new policy will allow his employees to openly carry firearms while they work.

A 9mm Glock and a star-shaped badge are Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg’s newest accessories.  He says, come mid-August, at least two employees working in each of his offices, along with his agents out seizing property in the field, will be openly carrying guns. 

“The main purpose of this is to provide security for our employees, customers and to safeguard the assets of the county,” said Greenberg. 

Greenberg says there is no formal security at Seminole County Tax Collector's offices and it's needed.  He says his office will save about $350,000 a year by not hiring private security to accompany deputy tax collectors to see property or at branch offices where residents renew vehicle registrations and obtain other licenses.

“When we have to issue warrants and seize property, those situations can be dangerous some times and I think it's important we arm ourselves and have the protection we need,” said Greenberg.  “There are times of year this office will have hundreds of thousands if not million dollars in cash a year, with no security.”

According to Greenberg, letting some employees carry in the office will save tax payers over a million dollars, roughly what it would cost to hire private security for each office.  He says his employees who will open carry will have concealed weapons permits and  wear badges just like his.  

When FOX 35 asked how this new open carry policy will work with insurance purposes, if employees are going under their personal concealed weapons permits and using their own guns, Greenberg didn’t have an answer.

“That’s a great question, when I get the answer to that, we’re still putting together this policy,” said Greenberg.  

That’s not all he’s still figuring out. 

“There will be some basic training.  For the most part ,security and deterrents is what I think this applies to. We're not looking to go out to arrest people. We're not looking to take over as a police officer. It would be no different than if you hired an outside firm to come in and perform these functions,” said Greenberg. 

Greenberg sent a courtesy notice to Sheriff Dennis Lemma and each of the police chiefs in Seminole County alerting them of his new open carry policy in the Seminole County Tax Collectors offices. 

In all, he says 15 to 20 employees will be allowed to carry firearms. Greenberg says no one will be forced to carry a weapon, adding that he "can't imagine that they wouldn't want to."