We played a little Jeopardy this session, and this was one of the important questions posed:
Hmmmm. I got to thinking. Sure I was learning fascinating bits and pieces of information about how our IRCSO works. I was enjoying the process and the growing camaraderie of my classmates. The food is always a plus - thanks Deputy Barker. ;) But, the GOAL? What is their goal and are they achieving it?
While we are still early into the course, I can say with clear certainty that it takes a special kind of person to do this work. Much like Fire Rescue, these individuals devote their lives to serving the community and they put their own lives at risk doing so. And -- WOW -- I am shocked each week to hear Sgt. Eric Flowers update us on what law enforcement dealt with in just the past 7 days. There sure is another reality going on in the underbelly side of our little seaside sanctuary! For example, in the past week, we learned that IRCSO orchestrated a successful drug dust which included getting a weapon away from a convicted felon.
When I saw the answer below, I decided that, yes, they are achieving their goal.
Sgt. Eric Flowers gave us some startling insight into local drug enforcement through stories of his time working as an undercover drug enforcement officer! Incredible to hear the many dangerous situations he put himself in while immersed in this 'underworld' so that he could learn the identities of the big dealers, growers and suppliers. We were mesmerized by the many photos from drug bust crime scenes. The grow houses are quite sophisticated and take a high level of thinking. Eric commented, "Imagine if they put their minds to doing something good! They could cure cancer!"
Eric explained how he and others worked on trade all over the state. He was always on call, and he even spent time in the SLC jail working undercover. "We always want to get the bigger fish," he said. "The goal is to cut the head off the snake. We chase a lot of ghosts."
Eric is sending those photos to me and I will edit this post and put up a slideshow right in this spot. In the meantime, here is what a grow house looked like after it burned down due to an electrical fire.
Also I was pretty amazed to learn that drugs are even made using this stuff:
Bob McPartlan from the Florida Department of Children and Families also presented at Day 4 of the Citizen's Academy. He described firsthand how he and his colleagues face challenging and sometimes heart-wrenching circumstances each day. They are never sure what is going to be waiting for them behind the door they knock on while they are out checking up on children under their protection. Drunk people. Bloody people. Angry people. You name it. Just like everyone else so far, the drive to help people regardless of the risk is strong in this man. He also happens to be the Mayor of Sebastian!
So getting back to Jeopardy, we feverishly took notes when Martha Asher from the Support Services Division took the podium. "Support Services is the back of the house," she explains. She then hit us with a lot of questions! Here is some of what we learned:
IRCSO has 306 total vehicles which average 18,882 miles per year on the road, using $803,446 in fuel and $217,908 in insurance premiums. In 2013 there were 5,273 traffic citations, 5,322 front lobby assists at IRCSO and 33,000 telephone call assists. The average number of case reports per year are 10,112, with 190,000 incident reports. There is a whole lot more to know, so you will have to take the course!
"Everyone here is remarkable," says Martha. "This is an environment you have to want to work in."
She also explained how every department has volunteers. "We like volunteers and we want to have more."
So come back next week - I hear we will be taking a tour of Corrections. Lots of photos I imagine! Meanwhile - here is a photo of Sgt. Eric Flowers, Evie the Intern (Eric - I need Evie's full name), and Deputy Milo Thornton.
I am an official, fully vetted volunteer with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office (Citizen's Academy, background checks, fingerprinted, etc.). Since my expertise is photo-journalism, producing these stories is one way I give back to my community.
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