The number one priority of your next Sheriff should be to protect life. This means curbing crime and creating an environment within Hillsborough County that allows people to feel safe. I will ensure that ALL neighborhoods in Hillsborough County have the resources they need, both money and personnel, to feel safe. I will fight to make sure that every person, regardless of color or national origin can feel safe in this County that I love so much. I often say that my job will be to "Fight crime and crush evil," and although this is true, it is not the whole story. I promise to keep the residents and visitors of Hillsborough County safe.
Throughout our country we deal with violations of rights every single day. I will ensure that on my watch Deputies will be trained thoroughly regarding protecting the rights of the residents of Hillsborough County. There will be a laser focused approach to civility and transparency by both the Deputies and Command Staff when it comes to on-the-job infractions. After thorough investigations, if a violation has occurred, then the Deputy or Command Staff leader will be disciplined accordingly. I will also entrust responsibility for lethal use of force claims to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. By utilizing an outside agency, we can guarantee the impartiality of the results of each investigation.
After speaking with many current Deputies, I understand that the morale and working environment at the Sheriff's Office has never been worse than it is today. This lack of training, care for the Deputies and civilian personnel and politically motivated internal strife has led to an ineffective agency. I will commit to a policy of sustainably training my Deputies. I never want someone to be negatively affected by the Sheriff's Office due to insufficiently or improperly trained Deputy. This training would relate to the mental, physical and emotional aspects of the job. I would also invest in Deputies in other ways, through leadership development, mental health counseling and paid time off for volunteering in the community. These are only a beginning to the ways that I will work to create a more effective agency.
Law and Order
It is very simple, a crime is a crime and everyone, regardless of color, will be subject to the same set of laws. There is no white law or black law or rich law. There is only the law. If you break the law, if you damage or steal someone's property, if you commit bodily harm to someone, YOU WILL GO TO JAIL. If you wish to organize and petition your government in a peaceful and non-violent manner, then I will protect your right to do so. However, the moment you damage private property or you decide to hurt someone, you will be arrested. This policy applies to everyone within Hillsborough County.
Police Use of Force
I commit to continue having Deputies wear a holster-activated body camera. I also commit to having the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate all lethal use of force incidents to provide an outside prospective and impartial finding. All involved Deputies will be placed on administrative leave until the investigation concludes and if wrongdoing is found, they will be disciplined. This is not and should not be a black vs. white issue. It is a good-policing vs bad policing issue and should be dealt with accordingly.
Uphold the Oath
I will always keep my word. I will uphold the laws of Florida and the Constitution. This is very simple. I am not and will not be a lawmaker, I am a law enforcement officer. This means that I will adhere to the United States Constitution while enforcing the law. I will not selectively enforce laws, I will not enforce laws for some people and not for others. If you are a resident of or visitor to Hillsborough County, the law applies to everyone equally.