Captain Brian Schultz currently serves as the Chief of the Uniform Patrol Bureau. He began his career in law enforcement in 1994 with the WCSO. He previously worked with the DeFuniak Springs Police Department. Captain Schultz started his career as a communications officer and has served as a correctional officer, patrol deputy, K-9 handler, patrol sergeant, narcotics investigator, SWAT team leader, and the lieutenant commander of the Criminal Investigations Division where he managed the persons, property and vice/narcotics sections. Captain Schultz has 18 years of law enforcement experience.
The Uniform Patrol Bureau is the most visible division and considered to be the backbone of the WCSO. The Uniform Patrol Bureau is comprised of eighty-one (81) patrol deputies and four (4) squads. Each squad works 12 hour shifts on a rotating basis to ensure maximum coverage of the county. These deputies provide law enforcement services 24 hours a day, seven days a week and patrol 1,066 square miles. Patrol is the first-responder to crimes committed within Walton County.
Patrol also provides a proactive presence in an effort to prevent crime. Patrol deputies provide emergency response services in life threatening situations and non-emergency assistance to a variety of criminal, traffic, medical, and civil matters, and natural disasters that may impact the overall quality of life. Patrol deputies provide a full range of law enforcement services to the residents of Walton County. Deputies seek to develop partnerships with the public to promote crime prevention and solve problems to effectively respond to criminal incidents. The Uniform Patrol Bureau is further divided into several specialty units: Field Training Office Program, Canine Unit, Reserve Unit, Agriculture Unit, Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Unit
The purpose of the Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTO) is to train new deputies so that each is prepared to function as an independent deputy at the conclusion of their training cycle. The training cycle consists of intensive on-the-job training and daily performance evaluations. Training is conducted and staffed by five (5) field training officers on a 24-hour basis. Field training officers have the dual responsibility of providing service in their assigned geographical areas, as well as conducting training and evaluations for new deputies. Field training supervisors are responsible for the supervision of all members assigned to their teams and for coordinating and supervising the on-the-job training of deputy recruits.
Deputies are required to meet specific performance standards before being certified for independent patrol duty. After completion of the FTO program, each deputy is assigned to a patrol team. During this time, the deputy is evaluated on a regular basis by their supervisor until they are ready for independent service.
The Canine (K-9) Unit consists of four highly trained teams that assist in the apprehension of suspects and the seizure of illegal drugs including, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Members of this unit train weekly on their skills along with their assigned canine to maintain a successful canine team. All canine teams are trained and certified annually to conform to United States Police Canine Association regulation and to the National Narcotic Detection Dog Association. Corporal Nick Bearden maintains certification as a canine instructor and continues providing internal training for the canine teams.
The unit consists of Corporal Nick Bearden and Canine Lee, a 13-year-old Black Lab; Deputy Kristen Pond and Canine Kayne, a five year old German Shepherd and Deputy Chad Biernacki and Canine Nero, a five year old Belgian Malinois. Each team is a specialized unit who performs a wide array of search and enforcement functions.
In 2012, the Canine Unit conducted approximately 2,906 traffic stops. During these stops, the Canine Unit deployed their canines approximately 509 times resulting in 301 narcotic finds. The Canine Unit was also deployed onto 33 tracks with 13 subjects being located. This ranged from cases involving suspects in crimes to missing children. There have been 261 arrests made by the unit and members of this team have assisted in helping patrol and other agencies make arrests as well.
During 2012, there have been several big cases the unit has worked, resulting in charges of trafficking in narcotics to methamphetamine labs. Several of these cases are still under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
2012 Canine Unit Numbers:
• Traffic Stops: 2906
• Arrests: 261
• Narcotic Deploy/Finds: 509/301
• Track Deploy/Success: 33/13
• Forfeitures Cash: $630,000
• Forfeitures Vehicles: 5
• Forfeitures Misc: 18 acres in TX, 5 guns
The reserve deputies volunteer their time to enforce the laws and serve the people of Walton County. Reserve deputies are unpaid sworn law enforcement officers who function as a support unit for the Walton County Sheriff’s Office by providing manpower for the Uniform Patrol Bureau.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office’s Agriculture Unit responds to incidents where farm animals escape and pose a threat to motorists. These deputies work with community livestock owners and multiple governmental and private agencies to ensure animals are safely recovered and transported to their respective owners. This unit uses specialized equipment to safely secure animals while protecting Walton County’s citizens and visitors.
The primary goal and objective of the POP Unit is to apprehend criminal offenders and eliminate crime or other problems during a particular time span/ specific location. This 6 person unit serves in a multitude of areas and is utilized as a shared resource throughout the operations division.