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2012 Year in Review: Fire rescue a priority for sheriff in 2013

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By Abdon Sidibe

Strengthening the marriage of the county’s public safety programs — fire rescue and law enforcement — will figure prominently in the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s plans for 2013.

Additionally, the sheriff’s office plans to shore up its intelligence-driven policing program and for the second straight year focus on reducing property crimes and drug crimes.

Since the merger of fire rescue and the sheriff’s office in October 2011, Sheriff Jeff Dawsy has often referenced expanding the services offered by fire rescue and expanded training for CCSO personnel.

Dawsy took the lead by enrolling in fire training classes, and in 2012 added fully staffed fire stations in the outlying areas of the county — DeRosa in the north, Sugarmill Woods in the south and Floral City in the east.

Firefighters also were equipped to perform initial life-support medical aid at various scenes.

In 2013, according the officials at the agency, the sheriff’s office will assume responsibility for fleet service and maintenance for all Citrus Sheriff Fire Rescue vehicles.

The agency also outlined the following as its top priorities for 2013:

* Continue to use its intelligence-led policing strategic plan to monitor and take action against local persons of interest and repeat offenders who frequent the agency’s criminal investigations, plus track closely any crime patterns either regionally or in neighboring counties.

* Reinvent wide-reaching, five-year strategic plans driving both fire rescue and law enforcement.

* Set priorities in its crime-reduction plan to include property crimes and drug crimes, the primary focus being on prescription pills and synthetics.

* Enhance its special operations’ HazMat team by having fire rescue’s medical director credential all HazMat paramedics in performing advanced life-support skills.