Deputies and investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) have been hot on the trail of the suspects involved in a string of burglaries occurring in the Driftwood Estates area in South Walton. Yesterday, deputies responded to 901 East Mack Bayou in reference to a suspicious persons call. An elderly neighbor made contact with two male individuals in her neighbor’s yard who were hanging around a window at the back of the house. They quickly fled after the neighbor spoke to them.
Law enforcement and the owner of the residence were contacted and deputies found an open window, as well as a damaged window screen. Deputies were able to locate subjects, Miguel Arceo, 16 of Santa Rosa Beach and Thomas Howells, 22, of Santa Rosa Beach. After gathering more information during the investigation, both were arrested and charged with Burglary of a Structure and Criminal Mischief.
The two have also been linked to several other burglaries in the Driftwood Estates area. Howells has additionally been charged with one count of Felony Criminal Mischief, one count of Grand Theft, two counts of Burglary, one count of Dealing in Stolen Property, one count of Grand Theft of a Firearm and one count of Grand Theft from the Elderly. Arceo has been charged with one count of Felony Criminal Mischief, one count of Grand Theft, one count of Grand Theft from the Elderly, one count of Grand Theft of a Firearm, and two counts of Burglary.
Both were transported for booking to the Walton County Department of Corrections. Arceo was subsequently transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice Detention Center in Crestview. This continues to be an active investigation.
A group of deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) recently attended a three day bike patrol course in South Walton. Members of the WCSO POP (Problem Oriented Policing) Squad were chosen for the class and were trained in various riding techniques and scenarios involving obstacles which test both the technical aspects, as well as judgment skills of the riders. A written exam was also administered. Deputies logged in over 26 miles during the training, riding along the major highways and by-ways. Trainers from local law enforcement agencies facilitated the training.
According to Captain Brian Schultz, who participated in the course, this is the first bike squad the WCSO has incorporated into their patrols. “We feel that the use of proactive bike patrol is just another tool in locating and fighting criminal activity,” Schultz said. “Deputies began their patrols a couple of nights ago in several different areas of the county. People were pleasantly surprised to see our presence on bikes in their neighborhoods.” Members of the bike squad were also recently called out to assist in locating a female lost in the woods in the area of Linton Road.
Captain Michael Howell, another agency member who attended the training, stated there are many benefits in having a bike patrol, for both Agency and the community. “Bike patrols can go where traditional patrol vehicles can’t. This is one of the biggest advantages. They have the ability to navigate swiftly around communities, avoiding obstacles and hazards that would stop or slow vehicle patrols. Bicycle patrols also result in more than twice as many contacts with the public than vehicle patrols.” Howell also added, “Bikes are essential for community policing initiatives. Targeted enforcement, surveillance, traffic enforcement, and public order are just a few ways in which we intend to deploy the bike patrol units.”
If you feel there is an area of the county in which bike patrol would be beneficial, contact Capt. Schultz at 850-892-8186 or [email protected].
Members of the Boys and Girls Club stopped by to chat with Sheriff Adkinson on Thursday to express their appreciation for his dedication to the field of law enforcement, and to the young people in the community. He was presented with a thank you card by the organization and those visiting had their photo made with the top law enforcement officer in the county. Sheriff Adkinson then invited his guests to take a tour of the Agency and get a behind the scenes look into a day in the life of a WCSO employee.
National Police Week originally started as National Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15th) back in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. The event is celebrated during the week of May 12th to May 18th and is a collaborative effort of many agencies and organizations to show support for the law enforcement community. If you haven’t already, thank a police officer, deputy sheriff, state trooper or any other member of the law enforcement community for the service they provide to our citizens.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) announces Major Joseph Preston has recently graduated from the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute Chief Executive Seminar. Nineteen graduates represented criminal justice agencies from throughout Florida who serve in leadership roles. The graduation was held in Tallahassee, FL on April 10th.
The seminar met for one week a month for three months at the Staybridge Suites in Tallahassee. Graduates took classes on demography, budgeting, managing generations, ethics and implementing strategic change.
The goal of the Chief Executive Seminar is to prepare Florida’s criminal justice leadership for the challenging and changing demands of the future. Class participants study trends and events that may affect our state and develop new leadership skills to address and manage those changes.
The Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute, established within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and affiliated with the State University System, was established in 1990 by the Florida Legislature who recognized the need for an innovative and multifaceted approach to the education and training of criminal justice professionals.
Sheriff Adkinson praised the dedication to education by Major Preston. “Major Preston has done an exceptional job of setting an example to others in our Agency and demonstrating that continuous improvement is the key to success.”
Student expelled from school for hoax
For Immediate Release
May 10, 2013
On May 9, 2013 Deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office received information from students at Walton High School that someone was going to shoot people at the school. Deputies along with school officials worked late into the evening investigating the information and were able to track down the student who provided the original information. The student advised them that he/she was just trying to be funny and scare his/her friends and that no real threat existed to the school or students.
Contact was made with the student’s parents and it was determined that the student did not have any access to a weapon. School officials took immediate action and expelled the student from school for the remainder of the year.
Sheriff Adkinson stated “the cooperation and swift action between the Sheriff’s Office and the Walton County School district shows our combined commitment to providing the safest schools in the country”
Walton County High School remains open and will have a normal school day.
For Further Information Contact:
Captain Audie Rowell
Public Information Officer
Walton County Sheriff’s Office
(850) 951-4964 (office)
(850) 401-4599 (cell)