BROOKSVILLE – Christen Brandel said she was frustrated with the attitude and responsiveness of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office in light of a recent burglary at her business on Main Street.
However, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Denise Moloney said via email and phone that Brandel and another resident had not given specific information on response times during the meeting.
“We can assure you and the residents of the Town of Brooksville that they are, have always been and will continue to be a priority for Sheriff Nienhuis and the men and women of the HCSO,” Moloney said.
Brandel, owner of Panbanged Knits and Fiber Shoppe, said it was probably a good idea to disband the Brooksville Police Department due to mismanagement, but the recent incident, in which a backdoor of his store was found to be open and was broken into, gave him a break.
Brooksville disbanded its police department in June 2018 and contracted with the Sheriff’s Office.
In public comments on Monday, October 18, she said crime was becoming a problem in the city and was told that the sheriff’s office only had two MPs in the city instead of the six MPs promised due of “personnel problems”.
She said she realized it was not an “in progress” call, but said it took 35 minutes for a deputy to arrive.
Over the phone, she added, she was told someone would be arriving in 30 to 40 minutes.
Moloney said based on data from the sheriff’s office, their response time for this incident was six minutes and 12 seconds, not 35 minutes.
Brandel said she was a former law enforcement officer and could carry a gun, and had to clean the building herself.
“I find that very hard to believe,” she said. “It was an open door, it was a business and it was downtown.”
There have been more crimes, Brandel said.
In one case, a store was broken into in broad daylight and an empty cash register was taken, she said, and the sheriff’s office took 42 minutes to respond.
“If we can’t protect our citizens, we really need to re-evaluate our law enforcement limits,” she said.
Moloney said in this case the actual response time was seven minutes and 30 seconds.
Another problem, the sheriff’s office spokeswoman added, is that calls can be reclassified higher or lower when a deputy arrives on the scene.
If there had been a theft, there would have been no delay in sending a deputy unless there was a delay in reporting the crime, Moloney wrote in an e -mail.
Brandel said, “We really need to start talking about the safety of people in the city. I don’t care. I have my controlled porterage permit, I have no problem cleaning a building, but I am no longer responsible for enforcing the law.
Linda Grass said Brandel’s remarks were about her and as a senior she also worried about the level of protection.
On Facebook, at around 8:09 am on October 19, the Sheriff’s Office said, “Our District 1 MPs regularly conduct foot patrols in the town of Brooksville looking for unsecured buildings and / or suspicious activity,” and published 10 photos of deputies. in the city by checking the buildings.
Sheriff’s Office Statistics
According to tables provided by the Sheriff’s Office, in 2020 there were 93 burglaries, eight thefts and 239 thefts, and the average response time was 15 minutes and 19 seconds. The total number of calls in the town of Brooksville was 15,476, with an average response time of 10 minutes and 55 seconds.
In 2021 to date, there have been 41 burglaries, no heists and 182 reported thefts, with an average response time of 14 minutes and 28 seconds. The total number of calls to Brooksville was 12,501, with an average response time of 11 minutes and 27 seconds.
“The information I have provided (in the tables) is based on how the calls were classified when they were called to our communication center. Many times a call classification is changed after the case assistant obtains investigative information. Some call classifications can be improved and others can be downgraded, ”Moloney wrote in an email. “The actual core crimes that are reported to the state (as part of the Unified Crime Reports) are lower than what is reported based on the type of original call. “
Call takers can’t predict how long it will take for an assistant to complete an investigation, Moloney wrote in an email, and can’t predict if other emergency calls will come in or if situations like this happen. that a car accident will occur while the assistant is underway and before the assistant arrives at the appellant’s location.
Council member Betty Erhard said it was sad to hear about the break-ins in the city.
“We don’t have enough law enforcement,” Erhard said. “It’s a huge concern.”
She added that she had heard that some businesses on Jefferson Street were also affected by crime.
Mayor Pat Brayton said he was okay with the law enforcement situation Brandel spoke about.
“I’m not sure where to go with this,” he said. “We can speak with the sheriff; we can certainly ask our general manager to have a difficult discussion with our sheriff. We have to do something. From what I understood, we were supposed to have three (assistants) per shift. “
Erhard noted: “This is where the contract comes in.”
Moloney said in a telephone interview on Friday that the sheriff’s office had been in contact with the city manager about the city and the concerns of its residents.
In other actions
• The board voted 5-0 to reject a $ 25,000 loan to Archway Partners for The Oaks at Candlelight. Public comments focused on traffic problems, crime, the presence of Section 8 or subsidized housing in the neighborhood, the state of the streets and the duration of infrastructure repairs. No one from Archway Partners attended the meeting.
• Council voted 5-0 to approve a $ 36,500 loan for the development of Cypress Ridge despite questions from Donna Morin, head of the town’s beautification committee, on why housing “low income »Continue to be built in the city.
• The board voted 5-0 to hire Government Services Group Inc. to help implement the American Rescue Plan Act funds. The city is receiving nearly $ 4.3 million from the federal government in two installments and has asked for help administering the money. Brayton said the city was understaffed to do the necessary reports to get the money, and ultimately agreed to pay the contractor $ 239,560. The money will come from federal funds.
• The board also voted 5-0 to approve the closure of national roads for the annual Kiwanis Christmas Parade on December 11, and 5-0 to approve a sponsorship credit application; approved the purchase of two Texas Underground Jetter Vac trucks 5-0; and 5-0 approved an update to the statewide mutual aid agreement.