Sheriff's Message History
April 12, 2011
I can hardly believe how quickly time goes by. This is my third year as your elected Sheriff. Like many of you, I am a 'transplant' here. I have lived and worked in other areas of southwest Florida prior to moving to Charlotte County which gives me some other places to compare. I am continually impressed by the community known as "Charlotte County." That community is the heart of the subject at hand.
The Sheriff's Office is the major law enforcement agency upon which members of the Charlotte County community depend to protect and serve them. But the Sheriff's Office must also depend upon the members of the community for support and input. The most effective way to help each other involves open communication and learning between the Sheriff's Office, its members and the other members of the Charlotte County community.
To help facilitate more communication, the Sheriff's Office has instituted and expanded several programs and initiatives. One of these programs is our "Citizen's Police Academy" (CPA). The Sheriff's Office began holding periodic Citizen's Police Academy courses about 12 years ago. When I began my term as Sheriff, I felt it was absolutely essential to step up this program, so it is now offered four or five times a year. The courses are held one evening a week for eight (8) weeks and offer the attendees an opportunity to learn more about how the Sheriff's Office works. But it also offers the Sheriff's Office members who instruct an opportunity to learn what the people attending the course think is important. We have completed 39 CPA's where more than 650 members of the community have attended.
Many of the people who attend the CPA have wanted to continue to help the Sheriff's Office. We have instituted several volunteer programs. Members of our community volunteer their time to help out in our various offices performing a variety of tasks. We have volunteers who have taken additional training to be members of our "Citizen's Observation Patrol Service" (COPS). Others have volunteered to serve in our Parking Enforcement unit. Still others have actually volunteered to put on the uniform and become certified members of our Reserve Deputy unit. Because of these people who volunteer their time and efforts, the Sheriff's Office is able to provide more services for the citizens of Charlotte County.
Many of the concerns expressed by the people we have met involve traffic problems and street level crimes, particularly crimes involving drugs. In response to those concerns, we have put more efforts into traffic enforcement and drug interdiction. Both our Narcotics Unit and our Street Crimes Unit have worked relentlessly to deal with both major drug operations, such as grow houses, as well as street level drug dealing. Our Traffic Unit has been tasked with setting up specific traffic enforcement locations throughout the county to target areas with high incidents of accidents. Each week, we advertise to the media and through our website where those locations will be.
Our website is one of our means of communicating with members of our community and beyond. As the technology of communication changes, we are also changing. Earlier this month, the Sheriff's Office launched its Facebook© page and Twitter© feed. We hope these outlets will provide even more up-to-the-minute information to our community members. We also began a video visitation program which will allow family and friends to 'visit' over the Internet with inmates housed at the Charlotte County Jail.
Just as technology has changed our communications, it has made us part of a global economy. We all know how things happening in different parts of the country and in different parts of the world can affect us here at home. We have only to go as far as the gas pumps to realize it. As your Sheriff, I am dedicated to providing the best possible services to the citizens of Charlotte County and making the best possible use of the resources available. It is a challenge, but one that we can deal with by working together and communicating.
As I said to start with, Charlotte County is truly an impressive community.
Sheriff Bill Cameron
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