Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil appeared on the The Morning Show with Preston Scott on Friday, January 9. He discussed several issues including the homelessness problem that appears to be growing in Leon County.
On the current state of public safety in Leon County, McNeil stated that after a tumultuous 2020 there is a huge focus on training in law enforcement agencies across the country. In addition, McNeil said there is a review of policies and procedures to ensure that law enforcement are meeting the expectations of the community.
McNeil added that there is a misunderstanding by many about the challenges and problems facing law enforcement.
With regards to staffing, the Leon County Sheriff Office (LCSO) is facing some of the same issues as the City of Tallahassee Police Department where the number of officers patrolling the streets are down over the last year.
McNeil said the there are not a lot of people trying to get into the profession and current officers are facing morale issues and asking is it worth it given the current climate regarding law enforcement officials.
McNeil also noted that the LCSO deputies recently voted to establish a bargaining unit through the Police Benevolent Association (PBA). McNeil said that the bargaining is different from the PBA bargaining unit associated with officers at the Tallahassee Police Department.
McNeil stated he was not sure why arrests have been down over the last 8 months. He said it was not related to the COVID pandemic and that it would require an analysis to draw any conclusions.
TR has reported that arrests have been down during 2020.
When asked about the homelessness camps being established around Leon County, McNeil said that they are seeing an increase and have taken action to evaluate the scope of the problem. He said hopes to sit down with TPD and other organizations to craft a course of action. McNeil added that it is counter productive to arrest homeless individuals who would be returned to the streets after a short period of time.