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Florida tax collector to allow employees to open carry, local tax collectors prefer law enforcement

Posted at 8:55 PM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 23:37:25-04
Hundreds of millions of dollars are paid in county taxes every year, that's why most county tax collector offices have armed security guards. One Florida tax collector is opting out of hiring private security and letting his own employees pack heat.
 
The Seminole County Tax Collector said he's using an exemption to the state's 'open carry' ban to allow his employees, who are also considered revenue officers by the state, to carry a gun. 
 
He claimed he's saying taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in security costs, but it's raising the question, how much is safety worth? 
 
At the Martin County Tax Collector's Office, you don't only see see a gun and a badge at the front door - you see a trained sheriff's deputy. 
 
"I've always believed providing security for the office is much more than just carrying a firearm," said Martin County Tax Collector Ruth Pietruszewski. 
 
The Seminole County Tax Collector has told reporters he will save 350,000 dollars a year in taxpayer money by allowing some of his employees to open carry firearms. 
 
"I think he's probably doing what fits his office best," said Pietruszewski. 
 
In Martin County, hundreds of taxpayers walk in and out of tax collector office daily. 
 
"We're busy every day," added Pietruszewski. 
 
Millions of dollars are paid. Pietruszewski said she feels most comfortable hiring deputies who have tactical weapons training. 
 
"It's not only just using it [firearm], it's knowing when to use it, and when not to use it, to protect that someone doesn't take it and take it from you and use it against you," she added.
 
Martin County Sheriff's Deputy George Primm believes just his presence at the tax collector's office is a deterrent. 
 
"A lot of times, if we just arrive on the scene or people walk in and see us it kind of curbs how far they want to go with anything," said Deputy Primm. 
 
In the event something were  to happen, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the best way to protect a Tax Collector's Office is by having law enforcement present.
 
"My deputies go out every night armed and ready for some kind of confrontation but we have a lot liability insurance, there is a lot of liability that comes with that and to expect civilians to arm themselves to protect the business is putting an awful lot on your employees," said Sheriff Snyder. 
 
In Palm Beach and Indian River counties, both offices work with their corresponding sheriff's office.