A room full of deputies from various agencies, including Walton County, sits with their heads bowed. Bagpipes start playing “Amazing Grace” and the instructor asks the deputies to envision a church full of law enforcement officers, an American flag draped over a casket and the front row of the church lined with family members. According to the instructor, this type of scenario occurred 128 times last year for law enforcement officers all over the United States and 19 have been killed so far in 2013. The last time the number was under 100 was in 1944. Nearly 70 years later, administrators, supervisors and trainers are attempting to figure out what they can do to lower the numbers down below 100 again.
Innovations in training, emergency medicine and vehicles, as well as the development of ballistic armor, have all contributed to bringing the numbers down over the years but there are five points that have been identified in the Below 100 initiative that are focused at bringing the numbers down even further: wearing your seatbelt, wearing your ballistic vest, watching your speed, focusing on what is important right now, and never becoming complacent.
Sheriff Michael Adkinson fully backs the Below 100 initiative. “I believe in a fundamental obligation to the men and women in this Agency to insure they go home to their families.” His dedication to the safety of his deputies is evident. All deputies and investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) are required to attend the training. The instructors for the course drive home the simple concepts of this course. “The Below 100 instructors provide great insight into the risks of this profession that can be reduced. Since we have identified these predictable behaviors, then we know it is preventable.”
The four hour class is being offered over a three day period in DeFuniak Springs, Chipley, and Marianna. To learn more about Below 100, go to www.below100.com. To pay respects to the law enforcement officers who lay down their lives each day to protect our towns and counties, go to www.odmp.org.
Effective February 28, 2013, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) officially ended their operational oversight of the Freeport Fire Department. Tom Palmer was unanimously supported by his co-workers and the Freeport City Council to become the Department’s first ever Fire Captain. Captain Palmer will be the Department’s ranking officer-in-charge until such time as a fire chief is selected. The WCSO will continue to provide limited assistance with administrative issues until a permanent fire chief is in place. The Freeport City Council is expected to fill the position of Fire Chief within the next few weeks.
WCSO stepped in approximately eight (8) months ago when Al Ford was named Interim Chief. During this operational time period, the Freeport Fire Department underwent several positive changes, to include new uniforms for firefighters, clean up and remodeling of the station, the institution of a rank structure and increase of morale.
It’s the time of the year when the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) is prepping for Spring Break. After last year’s record numbers of visitors to the Emerald Coast, deputies are gearing up for another busy time.
According to Lt. Robert Gray, the WCSO will be setting up the mobile command center close to the beach this year, as well as saturating the area with patrol deputies. “The week of March 11th will probably be the week of our largest turnout. We will have more schools here in that week than during any other time while Spring Break is taking place,” Lt. Gray said. “The overall message we want to send is that we want people to enjoy their time here on Spring Break but we also want them to be safe.”
In coordination with these efforts, the WCSO, as well as the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the Bay County’s Sheriff’s Office are banning together to ensure safety to all those in our area. The three law enforcement agencies are holding a joint press conference on March 6, 2013 at 2 p.m. at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in Shalimar to discuss their operational initiatives.
WALTON COUNTYSHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT
POSITION TITLE: Emergency Management Planner
ANNUAL SALARY RANGE: $43,300.00 – $61,500.00
CLOSING DATE: March 8, 2013– 5:00 PM (CST)
This agency is advertising for the position of Emergency Management Planner.
To apply please submit a Support Staff application to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, 752 Triple G Road, DeFuniak Springs, Florida 32433. For additional information, please contact the Human Resource Office at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office at (850) 892-8186.
For Immediate Release
February 28, 2013
Today the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management closed the emergency shelter at the Bruce United Methodist Church located at 269 Church Road in Bruce, FL. after positive reports from field personnel indicated the river levels in the Choctawhatchee River were receding. Since the opening of the shelter no citizens have requested the assistance of the emergency shelter.
The Local State of Emergency remains in effect and citizens are encouraged to use due care when confronting standing or running waters. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains at a level three and continues to monitor the situation.
More information will follow as it becomes available.