Veteran law enforcement officer and instructor Robert A.’Tony’ Wilson makes the case that he is by far the most qualified candidate in this year’s Glades County Sheriffs race. Wilson mentions new techniques, modern technology, knowledge of training, working with kids, and more community policing when he is asked to talk about what he would do as Sheriff.
Wilson started in law enforcement at the age of 18 in 1975. He spent his career working for the Florida Highway Patrol and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
He also is a police academy instructor.“For over 30 years I’ve been teaching and training officers on how to be professional, ethical, honest and above all fair. I promise if elected that everyone will receive professional, fair and equal treatment,” he added. This is Wilson’s second bid for the office as he lost to current Sheriff Stuart Whiddon in 2012.
Wilson said it is tough to beat any incumbent and he feels better about his chances this time around.
He said he would like to see a local crime scene unit at the sheriff’s office instead of reliance on other counties and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He said this would mean more convictions, more evidence, and even more stolen property being returned to its lawful owners.
He also wants his officers to get out of the patrol car, move around and talk to people, get to know them and their children, and prove to children they are an asset and a friend, not the boogey man or an enemy. He also would like K-9 units to better fight the drugs that are in Glades County. “I spent a lot of time in drug interdiction as a trooper. US 27 is a pipeline for drugs. We need trained officers and drug dogs to detect narcotics on our roads.”
Wilson said drug dealers will not knock on your door and admit to bringing drugs into the county. He said the sheriff must be proactive and do all they can to fight drugs and the violence they bring. Wilson also is an advocate of youth programs like the explorer program. He said kids need to have goals for themselves. If they have a positive view of law enforcement, perhaps they will pursue a career in that field. “There are a lot of different jobs in law enforcement. Kids who have a goal are better prepared for life and they are more likely to stay out of trouble.” Wilson said he would keep the county jail and detention center open. He said it brings a lot of jobs and those jobs are needed in Glades County.
He said they must work harder with the federal government and also accept inmates from other counties that suffer from jail overcrowding. The idea of a regional jail has gained traction in recent months. Wilson emphasizes professional policing, crime fighting, and keeping people safe. “Glades County is my home. I want to see Glades County have a safe environment for kids and families. A lot of counties are not proactive in law enforcement. No one person can stop crime. It must be the community working with the sheriff’s office that fights crime.”
Wilson also emphasized that his deputies will receive the best training available. He said he will not tolerate any questionable behavior by any of his employees. “I will give you a professional Sheriff’s Office that you can be proud of,” he added.
Special to Glades County Democrat