ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) – At a military recruitment center in St. Petersburg, where they have offices for all branches of the service, friendly young men are there to greet anyone who walks up.
The recruitment centers are the first encounter many young men and women have with a future career in the military.Recruitment centers like the one in St. Petersburg are frequently located in suburban shopping centers and not on secure military bases.
Paul Huszar is a retired military officer who is now the CEO of VetCor, a company dedicated to hiring veterans. Huszar says he was angered by the violence outside of a recruitment center in Tennessee, but he doesn’t believe recruitment centers should relocate to U.S. Military installations.
“I think that would be a disaster and I don’t think they will do that and I don’t think they have any desire to do that because you create even more of a gap between the military and the society and that’s dangerous,” Huszar said.
He believes the recruitment centers must provide a welcoming environment for all in order to function. It’s a delicate balancing act between providing that welcoming environment and security for those inside. Following the shootings in Tennessee, the St. Petersburg Police department stepped up their patrols of local recruitment centers.
“I know that in St. Petersburg this morning we’ve made an effort for all of our officers to get out and have more of a presence around recruiting centers to deter any kind of a copy cat,” Assistant St. Petersburg Police Chief Jim Previtera said.
Previtera says many officers began the extra patrols on their own, as soon as they heard about the shootings in Tennessee on Thursday.
“We owe it to these men and women for the service that they’ve given to our country to protect them back here on the homeland,” said Previtera.