Again, for the second year in a row, incumbent Sheriff Mike Prendergast has put petty politics and ego above the safety of our children.

The sheriff’s No. 1 responsibility is to ensure the safety above all else of each citizen and visitor to Citrus County. School safety is an enormous shared responsibility among the sheriff; Sam Himmel, superintendent of schools; parents; and students and staff. Florida is not impervious to school catastrophes.

Retired undersheriff Buddy Grant, the district police chief/school safety specialist, is committed to preparing the schools for crisis and has not let pettiness become a distraction.

Is Sheriff Prendergast creating an environment where our children are being put at potential risk?

To successfully harden our schools and prepare them for a critical event, it is necessary to collaborate, plan, train and evaluate crisis plans with Buddy Grant, the school’s police chief. Failure to act in the best interest of school safety is unacceptable.

Professional civilian law enforcement officers take an oath to swear personal feelings will not interfere with professional judgement. Is Sheriff Prendergast living up to this oath?

If the sheriff continues to be uncooperative in his dealings with our school board and Sam Himmel, we have statewide elected officials who will not hesitate to intervene and act in our best interest.

I served as and commanded school resource officers, and I know there must be cooperation between your sheriff’s office and the school district. It is important to have cohesive communication with district leaders. Keeping Chief Grant from the EOC harms the overall effectiveness/efficiency of sheltering citizens and protecting those in their time of need. Are our children safer under Sheriff’s Prendergast’s watch?

He certainly isn’t leading by serving others before himself.

Maj. Mel Eakley (ret.)

Homosassa

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