Sheriff McNeil Discusses Drug Trafficking, Officer Shortage

Sheriff McNeil Discusses Drug Trafficking, Officer Shortage

Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil discussed the Leon County Sheriff Department’s response to drug trafficking and other issues on the Morning Show with Preston Scott on Friday, Oct. 2.

Recently, Leon County has experienced an increase in armed robberies and other violent crimes, and McNeil said drug trafficking is fueling them.

“We are a corridor for drugs coming in from all over the world, quite honestly, but primarily from Mexico and the cartels,” McNeil said. “That is having a significant impact on the Big Bend in terms of who is in our community and the impact they’re having on the youth who are then out selling drugs and getting into shootings and breaking into cars to get guns.”

In June, LCSO received a federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) designation after partnering with the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office to petition the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and Drug Enforcement.

“It’s a game-changer,” McNeil said.

He said the designation will give the Sheriff’s department federal funding and resources to combat drug trafficking on both the supply and demand sides.

“There are going to be a number of arrests here in the next couple of months or so,” he said.

Later in the interview, Scott asked McNeil if he feels LCSO has enough deputies. McNeil said he is short about 20 corrections officers, but he is confident LCSO will recruit more after increasing the corrections officer salary.

McNeil wouldn’t give exact numbers regarding his patrol staff, but he said LCSO has about five more officers per shift than when he first became Sheriff and has recently added a Special Projects Investigations Detection Enforcement Response (S.P.I.D.E.R.) unit and officers delegated to work with juveniles.

“I will not tell you that we’re staffed to the point we need to be, particularly given the missions that we have now with all the things that are going on in our community and the impact that the coronavirus has had on our community as well,” he noted.

McNeil said 32 LCSO deputies have come down with COVID, but all but four have since returned to work.

Scott also asked if fewer people are interested in becoming deputies because of attitudes towards law enforcement on a national scale. McNeil said other communities are having trouble bringing people into the profession, but LCSO has not seen a shortage of applicants.

The rest of McNeil’s interview is available here.

8 Responses to "Sheriff McNeil Discusses Drug Trafficking, Officer Shortage"

  1. And there are people still surprised at the increase in first time gun sales, and training. Women lead the statistics in sales. As good as they want you to believe that they have enough officers the fact is they will not get there in time. The gun of choice for home protection for women is a AR15 ( the gun the Democrats think you do not need). Believe me if you have a home invasion, its not one or two people anymore its 3-4. And a 6 shooter will not do the job load it up with 17 shots.

  2. Shortages are going to get worse. Officers are leaving in droves for a job without the ridicule and stress. Not to mention that the city refused to offer any type of raise for TPD officers in the first year of the proposed 3-year contract. Yet, Chief of Staff Mike Suleski gets a $20k raise???????

  3. After researching the background of your Pittman comment; I see I am really naïve! Sheriff McNeil and his wife, Pittman and his PAC, Gillum are all linked. Seems like the FBI didn’t get to the bottom of the barrel. We clearly need more sunshine on our local government so we can understand why we keep reporting the same problems year after year with little change.
    Are we on a major drug trafficking corridor – I believe that is true. Do we need to get other drug interdiction professionals involved – that makes sense. Will that make a big difference in our crime rate? I’m not sure when I look at the crime map.

  4. Recently, I needed help and they would not come.

    Also, several years ago it took them 20 minutes to get to my house when an intruder was at my door at 2:30 a.m.. I huddled in my bathroom with the dispatcher on the line.

    That intruder recently committed two murders and is now in jail for two murders.

    Why isn’t the County Commission calling out the sheriff for giving Sean Pittman LCSO funds under the guise of a lobbying contract?

  5. Despite the snappy story fabricated out of thin air by Sean Pitman, bought and paid for by your tax dollars; the fact remains that good ‘ole Walt has always been a leftist and as a leftist we do get a lot of talk but sorry @ss results.
    It will always be that way.
    The sorry @ss results shout loudly while the snappy story only whispers.
    I would say do better but what you see is all we are gonna get.

  6. There’s always an excuse! What are your solutions, Sheriff? There has been an increase in crime, of all sorts, for years, in Tallahassee. This isn’t something new, Sheriff, so don’t try and sell it to us, like it is!!!

  7. Actually no deputies have been added to patrol shifts since he got there or in the last 10 years. In fact he has cut the size of several investigative units and is continually adding to the size of command staff. It is three to four times larger than under any previous chiefs. Three Assistant Sheriffs to start. Then look at how many Chiefs, Directors, Majors, and Captains he has. The agency is extremely top heavy.

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