I understand there are many issues facing our Commissioners, however, I feel their first priority should be public safety.
That brings us to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Department. Do you know the Sheriff, Mike Prendergast, has been selling off old equipment they no longer need to generate funds? He has gotten rid of unnecessary perks in the department to save funds. They are in need of seventeen more Deputies to bring the Department up to the level of efficiency they need. There is nothing else to sell, nothing further to cut back on.
Their helmets and ballistic vests are past their expiration date meaning they are no longer guaranteed to be effective. These people who rush towards danger while others flee are relying on defective equipment to save their lives and that of others. Considering forty-five percent of Citrus County is on water the Department does not have the boats needed to respond to these areas.
Recently the Sheriff’s Department engaged in a joint drug raid with Hernando County Deputies. The problem they encountered is during this dangerous operation they were unable to communicate with the Hernando County Deputies. The reason, because their radios are eleven years old and did not have the ability to function as newer radios would. Think about being involved in a coordinated drug raid and not being able to communicate with all Deputies present, talk about being dangerous. They lack the funds for proper training of their Deputies. I could continue on but you get the picture, they need help.
We have an obligation to assure the Sheriff’s Department has what they need to protect us; the Commissioners also have this obligation, in fact, a duty. It has become essential that we all contact the Commissioners and assure they do all in their power to support our local law enforcement as much as possible. Yes I know, there are many priorities on their plate. However, those priorities become meaningless if the Sheriff’s Department is operating at any level below one hundred percent.
Presently we are at a critical state concerning the Sheriff’s Department, the longer we wait the more serious the problem becomes. Please contact the Commissioner’s and demand they revisit the Sheriff’s budget, make the necessary adjustments in the County budget and put the Sheriff’s office at the top of the list. Help them do the job we expect of them in the most effective manner possible.
Frank D. Lovell
Previous Letters to the Editor can be found here.