Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil updated the Leon County Commission (LCC) on several law enforcement issues at the Tuesday meeting.
McNeil told the LCC that from January 2021 to May 2021 violent crime in Leon County is down by 33%, rape is down by 37%, and robberies have stayed about the same when compared to January 2020 to May 2020.
McNeil noted that the Sheriff’s Department S.P.I.D.E.R. Unit has been working hard and have recovered 34 stolen cars, have made over 200 arrests, have issued 147 warrants, and have seized 23 firearms this year.
McNeil said the Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) continues to partner with Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Highway Patrol to create a concentrated focus to combat crime in our area, in the Deputies Without Borders operation.
Sheriff McNeil acknowledged the continued efforts to increase re-entry programs for inmates, including initiatives to obtain more assistance for those with mental health challenges. He stated that 40% to 50% of the inmates the LCSO deals with have mental health troubles and require additional support once they are released.
Lastly, the Sheriff discussed the work the LCSO is doing to reach out to Leon County youth, to help build a positive relationship with them. The LCSO is working with the area schools to help children navigate difficult situations in cases of domestic violence.
Commissioner Nick Maddox expressed concerns over Sheriff McNeil’s remarks about the number of inmates that suffer from mental health issues. He also conveyed to the Sheriff that he would like to hear more about the situation to see if there are more ways the Board may help.
Vice Chairman Bill Proctor stated the County gives LCSO a lot of money and he asked if the LCSO are completing proper background checks on deputies, “for mental checks on their racial dispositions, and their hate.” He continued that he wants to be sure the Sheriff is taking steps to ensure his deputies are treating citizens with “respect and decency.”