Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
On Thursday July 26, 2018 community members enjoyed the opportunity to listen to varied presentations by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on their operations to protect the county and its citizens at the District One Open House. District One covers the majority of the county which now includes The City of Brooksville. Tours of the facility which was the former location of Brooksville Police Department were conducted. Investigation staff were relocated from the Sheriff’s Office headquarters and they say they like their new space as it is quieter and offers more privacy.
There’s a training room where detectives and patrol deputies have roll-call before their shifts begin. Eventually, training personnel will be moved to the District One office from main headquarters too. They’ll have a tactics training room with padded walls and a simulator for deputies to practice their reactions to various situations.
Patrol deputies make good use of a break room and kitchen area where they can heat up meals often at odd hours since they work 12 hour shifts. There are also interview rooms, several offices, a conference room, an evidence room and a reception area where a staff member can handle walk in police reports from behind bulletproof glass. Typically an officer who has been injured and is on desk duty can write up police reports from citizens who come in to report a crime.
John Schneider, a member of the SWAT team spoke to an eager and inquisitive audience on the functions of the SWAT team. He said, “We’re here to save lives.” He explained that they get two days a month to train and it’s very intense when they are training. They do a lot of firearms training, firearms discipline, assault vehicle training, officer and citizen down drills. Once a year the full team goes to the military compound in Central Florida to train with special forces.
Last year- the SWAT had 20-25 activations, Schneider estimates. Two years prior they were closer to 40 or 50. “Crime has decreased a lot in our community,” he said.
When they are sent into a situation, Schneider explained that he carries 65-70 lbs of gear on his back. SWAT team members certainly have a tough job.
Members of the Community Oriented Policing, Forensics, Vice and Narcotics, K-9, and HCSO CIvilian Mounted Units were also on hand for presentations as well as Sheriff Nienhuis, his Command Staff, Communications Center staff and patrol deputies assigned to serve the city.
The District One
Office is located at:
87 Veterans Ave, Brooksville, FL 34601