Happy Monday to all of our Citrus County Strong!
We have begun collecting signatures to be placed on the ballot in 2020. We need 1052 signatures and we are well on the way.
I had the opportunity to meet many, many, Citrus County residents this week and was impressed by their awareness of the current situation in our home County Sheriff’s Office.
We are ready for change and ready for a “HOME TOWN CANDIDATE”! NOT a transplant that just moved into our County.
Folks, I need your help in spreading the word.
I give you my word when we are in Office my door will ALWAYS be open to the employees of the Sheriff’s Office and ALWAYS to my family of Citrus County!
Please come see us at our Launch Meeting on Sunday, September 23rd from 1 pm to 4 pm.
Quality Inn & Suites – Citrus Hills
Tuscany on the Meadows
350 East Norvell Bryant Highway
Hernando, Fl. 34442
Citrus County Strong
As we move on forward toward the 2020 Sheriff’s election there are a few things I ask you to remember.
1) There are sixty seven (67) Sheriff’s Offices in the State of Florida, Did we hear any of the other sixty six (66) Sheriff’s Office have issues with their County Commission and or School Board Superintendent with their SRO contracts?
2) On the Bay nine (9) news/Chronicle newspaper interview on around Aug. 9th interview with Prendergast, he stated twelve (12) times that the SRO contract was illegal and one of those times he stated that the SRO contract as immoral and unethical as well.
3) On Aug. 13th Prendergast issued a facebook post that the contract with the County was signed for the 2018-2019 school year, he did not address the illegal, immoral and unethical remarks made prior on Aug. 9th.
4) Senate House Bill 7026 (SB7026) calls out the minimum safety and protection required by the State of Florida Law, what is being done other than the minimum?
I recommend you looking it up and reading it.
Like the vast majority of Citrus County Residents I have my own thoughts and views on these events, the unfortunate thing is, that our schools’ protection was in jeopardy. The entire thing was handled atrociously and very, very unprofessional! This would not and will not occur when we are in Office, We are connected to each citizen of Citrus County and have vested interest in your safety.
Being a product of the Citrus County School system (attended Homosassa elementary, Crystal River Middle and Crystal River High school, graduate of 1984) I can absolutely assure you the residents we never had to worry about any of this and kids could be kids.
I agree that times have changed but the message should never change! Our Schools, Students, Teachers and School Staff must have a safe and protected environment.
We simply owe it to them!
On one last note my sister is a school teacher, my wife is in the process of getting her teaching certificate and I have many, many friends who are teachers, they are the backbone of our kids’ futures, they should be treated as such!
Citrus County Strong
Patrick A. Crippen
Special to the Chronicle
2020 sheriff’s candidate Crippen says he can bring people, agency closer together
• Buster Thompson
Aug., 2018 Updated 1 hr ago
Patrick Crippen, at the time of this photo, was a lieutenant with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Crippen has pre-qualified to run for Citrus County sheriff in 2020.
Editor’s Note: This profile story is on a candidate who pre-qualified for the 2020 election for sheriff of Citrus County. He is not on this year’s ballot.
Patrick Crippen’s gold sheriff’s star bestowed by then-Citrus County Sheriff Charles Dean hasn’t left his neck in almost 30 years.
“It’s always a piece of home,” Crippen, 52, said in an interview while lifting up his five-year service pin from 1990.
The 18-year law enforcement veteran said it reminds him of a time when, he believes, deputies and the citizens they protect were inseparable and transparent partners working to grow a safer community — a relationship that Crippen contends is lacking today.
“Even though we have grown, we need to get that back,” Crippen said. “The sheriff’s office’s job is to interact with the community as much as possible; they need to be on foot, they need to be in the stores, they need to be talking with residents.”
Crippen hopes to be elected to office in November 2020.
He is running his campaign built on the credo: “‘Citrus County Strong,’” said Crippen, who pre-filed to run earlier in August. “It’s our methodology on how — when I’m at the sheriff’s office, leading the sheriff’s department — we’re going to treat the citizens.
“The sheriff’s office is about public community interaction and providing an environment to the citizens that they know who they’re dealing with.”
Like a quarterly stakeholders meeting, Crippen said, if elected sheriff he and agency officials will meet with different demographic and regional groups to discuss how the sheriff’s office spends tax dollars.
“You hope the person you elect is going to do the right thing for the county, so let’s have a little transparency,” Crippen said. “If you want to look at my books, come on in because I have nothing to hide. All that’s going to do is build trust within the community.”
Crippen said his handling of the budget would focus on trimming out outdated programs and units, and instead support outreach initiatives, employee recruitment, retention and education recruitment, and divisions that better serve veterans, seniors and children.
“I guarantee you that within the first 12 months we’re in office, you will see unbelievable changes that will be good for the deputies and for the citizens,” Crippen said.
The sheriff’s responsibility to safeguard schools is also of paramount importance, said Crippen, who’s an alumnus of Homosassa Elementary School, Crystal River Middle School and Crystal River High School, where he graduated in 1984.
While county, school and sheriff’s officials were able to agree to what Crippen calls “a temporary solution” to strengthen the school resource officer program, Crippen said more cost-effective measures, like teacher-student trainings, can be put in place to fortify schools.
“That’s the minimum, but there’s more that’s got to be done,” Crippen said. “There needs to be a very robust training program for not only the teachers and staff but the students.”
Crippen’s family, which moved from Crippen’s birthplace in Miami, has been in Citrus County for almost 50 years.
With a family history ingrained in aviation and law enforcement, Crippen, who was flying out of the Crystal River Airport at 17 years old, became drawn to find a career that incorporated both his loves for policing and piloting.
He was 18 years old when he joined the now-dissolved Crystal River Police Department in 1987, and switched between that agency and the sheriff’s office before getting hired full time by Dean in late 1989, serving as a deputy pilot until late 1995.
“That’s really where my love was at, but it encompassed the law enforcement end of it as well,” Crippen said, adding he earned several airplane and helicopter flight certifications.
Crippen then spent four years flying choppers for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Afterward, he taught incoming pilots for three-and-a-half years as a lieutenant with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Crippen retired from policing in 2004 and moved to Texas, where he spent almost 15 years overseeing several aviation firms, including Airbus Helicopters and Bell Helicopter.
After his mother died a year-and-a-half ago, Crippen returned to Citrus County to pursue a new role as its sheriff.
“We’re all bound by the commonality of being citizens,” Crippen said. “It’s not about the sheriff’s office, it’s really not. It’s about the citizens and getting what they pay for.”
As things stand to date, Crippen will face off against Sheriff Mike Prendergast and fellow challenger Mike Klyap Jr. during the Republican primary in August 2020.
Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 firstname.lastname@example.org.