It has been a while since I retired the shield of the NYPD, but the knowledge and values of good policing remain with me forever. When I look at our candidates for Citrus County Sheriff, there is only one that has the qualifications to be the next sheriff that our community needs: Mel Eakley.

Mel Eakley’s 25 years of civilian law enforcement will bring a level of professionalism to Citrus County that we greatly need. As one who worked his way up the ladder of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department before retiring as major and moving permanently to Citrus County, Mel knows what it was like to work the streets, before he worked his way to some of the top administrative commands in the department. Along the way, he led hundreds of men and women in the department, and managed

multimillion-dollar budgets. He knows how to lead and lead effectively.

Mel understands that the number of arrests a Sheriff makes does not necessary equate to the quality of the arrests. Mel recognizes that to clean up the drugs, he must target the source — the drug lord network — not the drug user who could better serve society through rehabilitation and mental health services than being an arrest statistic. To clean up the drug problem, you need to go to the top of the supply chain; otherwise, you are conducting an exercise in futility. Trust me: During my time in NYPD’s Tactical Patrol Force, we were under orders to lock up for any infraction. Did it clean up the streets? No, it did not. Big arrest numbers mean nothing without stopping the source. Mel understands this.

Mel also understands the importance of employee morale. He understands the way to attract and keep good employees is through employee development, recognition, and compensation. Training current employees is much more efficient than hiring new ones. Mel is committed to this.

I could continue, but there is no need. We need new ideas, fresh blood. Mel is a man that can provide that. I urge you to join me and many others who recognize the stellar qualifications of this committed public servant.

Vote Mel Eakley for Citrus County Sheriff.

Tom Gotterup

Crystal River