|Sheriff Crum's final column--Wakulla Times Jan. 2013|
MY FINAL COLUMN AS SHERIFF—GOOD WISHES FOR A UNIFIED WAKULLA COUNTY
By Donnie W. Crum
By the time you read this column I will have only a few days left in my career as Wakulla County Sheriff. I have served for 15 months following the retirement of my friend and former Sheriff David Harvey and the appointment to this position by Florida Governor Rick Scott.
As the campaign came to an end on Nov. 6, 2012, it was a time to reflect on where we have been and where we are going as an agency. I felt it was very important for Wakulla County as a whole to embrace the results of the election and try to be less fractured as a community.
I know we all have a common goal here and that is to live in a beautiful, safe and productive community where we can enjoy our lives and raise our children. I know Sheriff-Elect Charlie Creel has the same goals as I do as far as keeping Wakulla County safe.
With residents of Wakulla County still digesting what the election results meant in early November I posted the following item on our web site, www.wcso.org, and our Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
“The 2012 election season has come and gone and the results have been tabulated. On behalf of the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sheriff-Elect Charlie Creel on his victory on Nov. 6.
“It is important that we all gather around Sheriff-Elect Charlie Creel and support him as he takes on the challenges he will face. What is truly important in the community now is keeping Wakulla County safe from crime and to continue to feel safe.
“I would request that everyone support the new sheriff with the same dedication and spirit that has been shown in supporting the WCSO. We are very fortunate to have the dedicated employees we have at the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office. They do a great job and I request that everyone come together to forge a solid relationship with Sheriff-Elect Creel as well. The future of our county is at stake and we want to continue to enjoy the benefits of living in a safe county for many years to come.”
I know that many of you in the community saw the post and agreed with the sentiment. The plea was from the heart and I hope that everyone in the community can continue to follow the lead and be kind to your neighbors and friends regardless of who they supported during the 2012 election.
The winning candidates have four years to prove themselves to their community and I hope that everyone will give these candidates a chance to show us why the majority of voters cast their ballots for them.
I also wanted to thank Major Maurice Langston for his many years of service to Wakulla County. Major Langston has done an outstanding job at the WCSO over the years and has been in just about every position imaginable. I know he was disappointed to lose the race after more than one year on the campaign trail but he was very gracious in defeat as he called Charlie Creel the night of the election and offered him his congratulations. Major Langston also spoke to members of our staff about the election process and the work still ahead to continue to serve our great community.
The post on our web site finished with congratulations to Major Langston. “I also want to thank Major Maurice Langston for his many years of dedicated service to the citizens of Wakulla County. He has done an outstanding job serving the community. We all wish him well in all of his future endeavors.”
Sheriff Donnie W. Crum
I felt it was very important to open the office to Sheriff-Elect Creel to make his transition as smooth as possible for the new sheriff and the employees. Charlie graciously accepted my offer and we set up an office for him to work in until he can move into my office.
Charlie also appointed Lt. C.L. “Trey” Morrison as the new Undersheriff and Trey was also given an office in the administration building to allow him to hit the ground running once I depart. The transition has allowed us to discuss the operation of the sheriff’s office which will allow Charlie to make his own decisions when the time comes.
I congratulated Trey for his appointment as Undersheriff. He is a local boy who has done just about everything in law enforcement at the sheriff’s office during his time of employment here. Trey has worked in the jail, on road patrol, narcotics unit, Criminal Investigations Division, SWAT Team and Rescue Dive Team.
During the time that followed the election, Charlie has had time to meet many of the employees. He already knew many people here but he also met employees he did not know. There is much to learn about the sheriff’s office because we are really five operations in one.
Everyone along the roads see our road patrol units keeping us safe 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But unless you get in trouble with the law you probably don’t have much knowledge of our jail. We are home to approximately 225 to 250 male and female inmates/detainees. The number of incarcerated inmates goes up and down each day depending on local arrests and the number of detainees we have transported here by the federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. ICE rents jail bed space from the county and pay approximately $75 per person per day.
The sheriff’s office is also home to the county’s Emergency Management Operation and we have a budget for the Enhanced 911 (E-911) system which provides us with technologically advanced communications equipment.
But the sheriff’s office operation does not stop there either. The WCSO has law enforcement staff stationed at the Wakulla County Courthouse where our office provides court security for both Circuit Court Judge Charles Dodson and Wakulla County Court Judge Jill Walker and since the courthouse has two courtrooms it is possible that county court and circuit court activities can be going on at the same time.
Maurice Langston is a good man and Charlie Creel is a good man and I look forward to Wakulla County getting behind Charlie as he begins the challenge of operating the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office. It is a hard job to be asked to do more with less money.
Charlie made a statement to The Wakulla News that rings true to both supporters and those who supported Maurice Langston. “I want to thank my supporters, and the ones that didn’t vote for me. I ask them to give me a chance to show them that I can run this department efficiently and effectively.” Wakulla County needs to have it that way for the betterment of everyone in the community.