Boot camp for convicts? Florida bill would let criminals join the military instead of going to jail


TALLAHASSEE, FL – The old line of standing in front of a judge and being offered to enlist in the military or face jail has not been something that has been real for several years.

However, a Florida Senator wants to make this a reality through a bill he introduced that will be heard during the 2022 Florida Legislative session.

Democratic Florida Senator Darryl Rouson has been working on something that would give those who have violated the law at a young age to turn their lives around instead of going to state jails for certain crimes.

The bill would allow judges the ability to offer the accused criminal to enlist in military service provided they are 25 years of age and younger.

The bill, as proposed, would allow the alleged criminal to enlist in the military provided they agree to serve their entire enlistment. Additionally, the charge in which they are appearing in front of a judge must only be a misdemeanor.

Other conditions are in place requiring that any possible jail sentence that could be imposed in lieu of enlisting must not be any more than four years for all offenses. In addition:

“The offender has not been convicted of an offense or, if the offender has prior convictions, is not a habitual felony offender, a habitual violent felony offender, or a violent career criminal.”

If the offender decides to take this opportunity to enlist, he or she must then take and achieve a passing score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. The results of the ASVAB are used by the military to place a person into specific roles in the different branches.

Under the bill, the person who is accepting the requirement to enlist is required to fulfill all requirements given to them by the military or face jail time for the original offense.

That means that the person must be able to pass basic, their advanced training, and complete all of the terms of service in their contract. The bill states that the court will hold jurisdiction over that person until all terms of the military contract have been met by the offender.

While this bill sounds great to some, there is no indication that Rouson has spoken to anyone in the United States Military to see if any of the branches are willing to accept people who fall into this category.

While the military does allow for some people who have had past troubles to enter, they are required to complete a morale waiver to the branch of their choosing.

A morale waiver is a form that the person would complete in which they list whatever offenses they have been charged with and/or any past drug use. When the morale waiver is filed, it is up to the branch headquarters to approve or deny the waiver.

Morale waivers had higher approval ratings when the United States was at war with Iraq, however, since that time, the number of waivers being approved has dwindled.

After all, currently, the United States is not at war with anyone which means the need for as many recruits as possible has lessened.

This means that every branch of the United States Military can be pickier about the people they allow into their ranks and perhaps less likely to accept those that need to have a moral waiver filed.

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Veteran-founded nonprofit shares scriptural messages of strength, hope with first responders, military, and bereaved families

MARIETTA, GA – One scripture-based necklace at a time, a veteran-founded nonprofit is spreading Godly messages of support and inspiration to our military, first responders, and Gold Star families.

501(c)(3) nonprofit Point 27 (“Point Two Seven”) was founded in 2014 by Colonel David Dodd, U.S. Army, Retired, in order to share hope and encouragement with thousands upon thousands of members of the U.S. military, first responders, and bereaved families of heroes.

The organization’s name stands for “Point to Christ,” and it has its origins in a scriptural message of strength and hope that Colonel Dodd and those under his command wore on dog tags during their deployments to the Middle East from 2001 to 2011.

After the terrorist attack on the United States on 9/11/2001, Dodd was deployed with his unit to Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

While overseas, Dodd encountered a dog tag engraved with Joshua 1:9, which reads:

“I will be strong and courageous, I will not be terrified or discouraged, for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.”

Dodd contacted Shields of Strength, the small company that manufactured those tags, to order 500 additional dog tags with that scripture. Owner and CEO Kenny Vaughan generously sent him the tags free of charge, and Dodd distributed the tags among all the members of the battalion under his command.

Veteran-founded nonprofit shares scriptural messages of strength, hope with first responders, military, and bereaved families
Military dog tag with Joshua 1:9, screenshot used with permission from Point 27

Those tags had an immensely positive and uplifting effect on all who received and wore them.

Dodd told us:

“That verse brought me comfort in times when things were out of my control, and I felt alone.  You just feel helpless when there are things that you can’t control, and you have responsibility to accomplish a mission.

“So, knowing that God was with me really strengthened and encouraged me.” 

He continued:

“I saw soldiers that claimed to have no faith, or actually claimed to be atheist, they would take the dog tag and wear it….

“The soldiers, during periods of boredom, would take the dog tag out, and look at it, and, whether they realized it or not, they were meditating on God’s word.

“They would recognize it as truth, and then they would want to learn more.  

“So many times I had soldiers come back to me and ask me why I was giving the dog tag to each of them, and asked me about my faith, and I would have the opportunity to share the Gospel with them.”

Dodd continued sharing the tags with their uplifting message, and from 2001 through 2011, he gave away 10,000 of those Joshua 1:9 dog tags.

After his retirement from the Army, Dodd sought to continue to share the positive effects of the uplifting messages on the dog tags, and in 2014 he founded Point 27, with its mission to strengthen and encourage members of the armed forces with God’s Word, engraved on dog tags.

In short order, Dodd also added Thin Blue Line dog tags to encourage law enforcement, and beautiful folded flag pendants for families of fallen police officers or military members who had died in the line of duty.

On the Thin Blue Line dog tags is Matthew 5:9, which reads:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God.”

The folded flag pendant reads:

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15:13.”

Veteran-founded nonprofit shares scriptural messages of strength, hope with first responders, military, and bereaved families
Folded flag necklace, photo courtesy of Point 27

So far, Point 27 has given Joshua 1:9 dog tags to 510,000 military service members, Thin Blue Line dog tags to over 220,000 members of law enforcement, and 29,000 folded flag pendants to bereaved families who have lost loved ones in military and law enforcement.

Reflecting on the Thin Blue Line dog tags, Dodd explained that the purpose of those particular tags is twofold.

He said:

“First, it’s a tangible way to say thank you to the officers, and to show appreciation, which is very important right now, because of the fact that they are just being beat up in the media….

“They are hearing daily, that they’re racist, they’re murderers, they’re abusive….

“They need to know that they are appreciated and that they are doing a good job.

“The second purpose of the dog tag is to serve as a physical reminder that we are never alone.  God is with us, always.”

Veteran-founded nonprofit shares scriptural messages of strength, hope with first responders, military, and bereaved families
Colonel David Dodd, video screenshot used with permission from Point 27

The uplifting journey of encouragement for Point 27 is far from over, as Dodd is determined to give these messages of hope to hundreds of thousands more who have served.

He told us:

“One of our goals is to give a Thin Blue Line dog tag to all one million law enforcement officers in the nation.” 

This sounds like quite a lofty goal indeed, but the Point 27 donation-funded, all-volunteer team works with enviable efficiency and a personal touch, to uplift those who have served.

Dodd told us:

“We have 35 volunteers across America.  Most of the volunteers are called Outreach Coordinators….. 

“They will contact local police departments, sheriff’s departments in their area or across their entire state.  They will find out how many officers they have, and provide the chief’s name and mailing address, and they send that information to me. 

 “I will write a personal letter to the sheriff or the chief explaining who we are, what we are doing, and the purpose of the Thin Blue Line dog tag, and send the tags for the officers in their department….

“The distribution channel is always ready, and we can fill it as fast as the funds come in.”

Point 27 stands out not only in efficiency of operation, but also efficiency in stewardship of all donations. 

Dodd explained:

“We are very frugal with the money God gives us through our donors.  We are extremely careful with what we do.

“A gold standard for a nonprofit is… if they can use 80 percent of a donation towards their mission, and 20 percent for overhead, which is administrative costs and fundraising expenses.

“We are using 95 percent of the donated funds toward our mission, and just 5 percent go to pay for administrative or fundraising expenses.”


Just as it was when he first started distributing dog tags, Dodd has found over the years that those who have received the tags have been touched, moved, and reassured.

He told us:

“Daily, I’m getting emails, texts, cards thanking us.  They are humbling.  I’ve had some of the hardest, toughest, strongest men – I’ve seen them tear up just by receiving that dog tag.

“This is a common reaction: An Outreach Coordinator will give one to somebody… and they will say, you have no idea what this means to me.  I needed it right now.”

For example, one Colorado detective wrote:

“It’s pretty amazing how something so small can bring so much clarity, comfort, support, and hope to someone in their time of need!!  We see and go through so much devastation, especially in our everyday line of work, that when it comes to our personal lives, we neglect ourselves and family when we think we are protecting them! 

“Just being able to see the dog tag, immediately reminded me visually of why we do what we do…..then to hold it, take a deep breath and to reflect on the true meaning and support of that simple little dog tag, gave me life back!!!!  So many times, just something so simple as my thin blue line dog tag, truly has saved my life physically and mentally.  

“God is good and always remembering to take that time, take that deep breath, takes so much weight off of my shoulders…’s hard to describe just how uplifting and lifesaving my tag is to me, but it’s been life changing!!!!  Thank you for giving us such a powerful representation of God and what we first responders are, all in something so small!!!”   

Veteran-founded nonprofit shares scriptural messages of strength, hope with first responders, military, and bereaved families
Joshua 1:9 dog tag, video screenshot used with permission from Point 27

Another law enforcement officer wrote:

“From a personal stand point, when I received my Tag, it actually brought tears to my eyes. Reading the words engraved on the Dog Tag, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God,’ touched me so much that I joined Point 27 and became an Outreach Coordinator in the State of Florida.

“I have presented tags in Florida and Georgia. The response from Law Enforcement has ranged from a Sheriff being brought to tears as well as other officers, to receiving hugs and hand shakes from tough law enforcement officers and family members of Fallen Officers.

“Watching these officers place the tags around their necks and witnessing how much they mean to them is humbling. During these trying times in this country, it means so much to these officers that we are spreading God’s word engraved on a Dog Tag that hangs inches from their heart.  Gifting a Thin Blue Line Dog Tag to law enforcement officers, helps them to know how much they are truly appreciated.” 

Supporters of Point 27’s mission can easily help by making a one-time or recurring tax-deductible donation at this donation page.

Veteran-founded nonprofit shares scriptural messages of strength, hope with first responders, military, and bereaved families
Henry rifle, law enforcement edition, photo courtesy of Point 27
Veteran-founded nonprofit shares scriptural messages of strength, hope with first responders, military, and bereaved families
LE edition Henry rifle engraving detail, photo courtesy of Point 27

In addition, Point 27 is featuring an exciting raffle of a special law enforcement tribute edition of the Henry repeater rifle.

This rifle features custom engraving and badging, honoring those who hold the Thin Blue Line.

Veteran-founded nonprofit shares scriptural messages of strength, hope with first responders, military, and bereaved families
LE edition Henry rifle details, photos courtesy of Point 27

Raffle tickets are available at the Point 27 website under the “Raffle” tab, singly or in groups of three to twelve.

The drawing will be held on January 9, 2022, which is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Touching again on the anti-police sentiment that is expressed so often today, Dodd told us:

“I think this is one of the most important times in history, that we need to get behind law enforcement.

“It’s so important to let them know the truth.  God is with them.  They’re not alone….

“We need to share God’s word with them and let them know that, all the noise, all the stuff that’s happening, if you just go back to the scriptures, you can find your strength. You can find your encouragement.  You can find truth.

“That’s our mission.”


Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.


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