Voters to decide duel for Walton County Sheriff job

Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 10:08 AM.

Griffith: I was employed by the Florida Highway Patrol in 1977. I served the citizens of Florida (as a highway patrolman) in Broward, Okaloosa and Walton counties for a total of 19 years. While with FHP, I was a field training officer for 28 years, instructor for the rank and file officers and supervisors, and later an adjunct instructor at OWCC (now Northwest Florida State College) for 12 years, as well as an instructor for the FHP Auxiliary. I retired from the FHP in May 2011 after 33-and-a-half years of service. My wife and I owned a daycare and learning center for 22 years also.

What are the most significant problems our county faces?

Adkinson: While crime is now at an almost 40-year low level, we are still seeing exponential growth in drug abuse. Walton County is dealing with a significant methamphetamine and prescription pill problem. The sheriff’s office is now one of the state’s top performers in combating the manufacture of methamphetamine. In the future I intend to use my position as sheriff not only to combat the drug issue, but also to emphasize preventive measures to help citizens protect themselves and their children from the dangers of substance abuse.

Griffith: Walton County has a problem with drugs that needs to be better addressed. We also have a problem with burglaries and thefts, especially residential thefts. I believe that by addressing the drug problem, we will have a significant reduction in the burglaries and thefts.

How would you improve the current Sheriff's Office operations to better serve citizens, cut costs, etc.?

Adkinson: The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is implementing a businesslike approach to improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. One such program is our LEAN program, based on the Toyota management philosophy of Lean Six Sigma. And while we have reduced our operating budget by almost $1 million dollars, since 2009 we have been able to maintain productivity. The sheriff’s office is expected to handle over 140,000 calls for service in 2012. Comparing this to the less than 90,000 calls for service in 2007 illustrates that while handling a reduced operating budget, we have been able to meet the needs of the public.

During my four years as sheriff we handled the challenges and obstacles from a wide range or areas, from oil spills to major homicide investigations. We have been recognized as a leader in law enforcement innovation.

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