GOP Sheriff Candidates

In mid-July, the Palatka Daily News asked candidates in August elections to tell our readers more about themselves. Candidates received extensive questionnaires and were given more than two weeks to complete the questionnaires. Below are the answers from Republican candidates for Putnam County sheriff Brent Coates, Jon Kinney, Thomas T. Tipton and Tom Williams. Early voting starts Aug. 17. The primary is Aug. 30.



Age: 55

Years living in area: 19 – I was transferred to Putnam County in June of 1997 from Miami.

Family: Married my high school sweetheart, we have a daughter and son-in-law, a son, a granddaughter, a grandson and three grandpuppies

Education: High School: Poca High School, Poca, West Virginia

College: Barry University, Port St. Lucie, Florida, Bachelor Degree GPA 3.62

Florida State University, Graduate Level – Special Student – 4 Semester Hours

Florida State University, Florida Center for Public Management, Certified Public Manager – CPM Program

Criminal Justice Training

Academies: West Virginia State Police Academy, Institute, West Virginia, GPA 90.61

Florida Highway Patrol Academy, Tallahassee, Florida, GPA 94.86

Leadership Training:

FBI Great Lakes Leadership Seminar #14

Leadership in Police Organizations (LPO)

DHSMV 11th Management Fellows Class

Homeland Security – Use of Force Workshop           

Line Supervision                                   

Middle Management

R.A.C. Executive Leadership           

Developing Law Enforcement Managers

Human Relations and Stress Reduction

Tactical Operations Command

Staff Inspections

Investment in Excellence           

National Highway Institute - Incident Command

Use of Force

Affirmative Action/EEOC

Channeling Employee Behavior

Employee Performance                       

Ethics in Leadership

How to Handle People with Tact and Skill

Civil Liability Seminar

State L. E. Response to School Shootings

Risk Management for L. E. Managers

Homeland Security – Incident Command System

Homeland Security – Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents

Homeland Security – NIMS Resource Management

Homeland Security – National Response Plan

Certified Instructor Training:

Leadership in Police Organizations (LPO) Faculty Development

Firearms Instructor Course

Instructor Techniques

Chemical Agent Instructor

Defensive Tactics Instructor

First Responder Instructor

Basic Law Enforcement Instructor

Cooper Aerobics Law Enforcement Instructor

DWI Instructor

American Heart Association Affiliate Faculty

Basic Life Support/CPR Instructor

CPR Instructor Trainer

CPR Update

Human Diversity Instructor Concepts

Field Training Officer:

Seminar for FTO

Administrative, Management and Supervision of FTO

FTO Program Development and Implementation

FTO Management Course

FTO Civil Liabilities

Crash Investigation:

Traffic Homicide Investigation

Seat Belt Injuries

Drug & Narcotics Training:

Selective Drug Patrol

Drug Abuse and Awareness Education

Narcotics Identification and Investigation

Search and Seizure

Prescription Drug Abuse

Hazardous Materials:

Update on Explosives

Toxicology of Chemicals

Identification of Cylinders

Infectious Substance and Bloodborne Pathogens

Hazardous Waste

Incident Command

Drug and Alcohol Recognition

Gas Cylinder Construction

Miscellaneous Courses:

Basic SWAT Course

9MM Transitional

Spanish for Law Enforcement Officers

VASCAR Operator

RADAR Operator

LASER Operator

Mandatory Retraining

DEA Gang Seminar

Police Officer Survival

Street Survival

Officer Survival

PR-24 Certification

FCIC Telecommunications

Human Diversity

Introduction to Office Automation

Personal Computer Starter

Introduction to Personal Computers

Haz-Mat First Responder

Florida Crime Information Center

Aggressive Driving Summit

Emergency Cardiac Care Workshop

Child Passenger Safety Technician

Breathalyzer Operator

Intoxilyzer Operator

Standardized Sobriety Testing

Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer Requalification

GLOCK Transitional Course

Current occupation: Retired

Previous employment: Chief of Police, City of St. Albans Police Department, February 14, 2011 to November 18, 2011, St. Albans, West Virginia

Florida Highway Patrol, March 21, 1983 to March 21, 2011, Tallahassee, Florida

Ranks Held: Trooper I, Trooper II, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major – Troop Commander, Major – Chief of Training - Academy Director

Leadership experience:

University of North Florida – IPTM (Institute of Police Technology and Management) (Contracted)

Adjunct faculty instructor in the Criminal Justice curriculum for municipal, county, state, federal and military L. E. Officers at various locations throughout the United States, responsible for developing, administering and executing lesson plans in an effective learning environment

Florida Highway Patrol – 28 years of service - Retiring as a Lt. Colonel

Director – Chief of Training – Florida Highway Patrol Training Academy – Major

Leading, managing, directing and overseeing the Basic, In-service, Mandatory, Advanced and Specialized training of all sworn, reserve and auxiliary members. To include the Recruitment, Applicant Testing, Background Investigation and Selection of all sworn members. Develop and maintain liaison with Region XV, State, Federal and Local allied agencies. Creating and fostering partnerships in allied agencies as they related to training. $11.5 million budget. Executive SME for the Promotional Committee,

Major – Troop Commander – Troop F - Bradenton

Leading, managing, directing and overseeing the patrol operations of Troop F, the southwest ten counties of the State, with 3-District Offices, 3-Sub District Offices and a Regional Communication Center, 206-FTE, $10 million budget, established strategic plans, ensured compliance with CALEA Standards, maintained high level of discipline, worked closely with PBA (collective bargaining), Office of Personnel, Employee Relations and Legal relating to personnel matters, Creating and fostering partnerships in allied agencies as they related to traffic safety. Executive SME for the Promotional Committee,

Major – Troop Commander – Troop K - Orlando

Leading, managing, directing and overseeing the patrol operations of Troop K (Florida Turnpike Enterprise), 16-counties throughout Florida, 3-District Offices, 4-Sub District Offices and a Regional Communication Center, 274 FTE, $12.6 million budget, compliance with purchasing requirements, compliance with State and Federal overtime grant initiatives, established strategic plans, ensured compliance with CALEA Standards, maintained high level of discipline, worked closely with PBA (collective bargaining), Office of Personnel, Employee Relations and Legal relating to personnel matters, established and maintained liaison with allied municipal, county, state and federal agencies, . Creating and fostering partnerships in allied agencies as they related to traffic safety. Executive SME for the Promotional Committee,

Captain – District Commander – Troop G - Palatka

Leading, managing, directing and overseeing the three county Palatka District of Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns County, with 1-District Office and 1-Sub District Office, 32-FTE, Troop CALEA coordinator, Troop Evidence Custodian, Northern Region Tactical Response Team Commander, SME for Promotional Committee, compliance with purchasing requirements, compliance with State and Federal overtime grant initiatives, established strategic plans, ensured compliance with CALEA Standards, maintained high level of discipline, worked closely with PBA (collective bargaining), Office of Personnel, Employee Relations and Legal relating to personnel matters, established and maintained liaison with allied municipal, county, state and federal agencies, . Creating and fostering partnerships with allied agencies as they related to traffic safety. Founding chairman of the Putnam County Community Traffic Safety Team

Captain – District Commander – Troop E - Miami

Leading, managing, directing and overseeing District I, encompassing northeast Miami-Dade County, with 67-FTE, the Robbery Interdiction Detail Coordinator, compliance with purchasing requirements, compliance with State and Federal overtime grant initiatives, established strategic plans, ensured compliance with CALEA Standards, maintained high level of discipline, worked closely with PBA (collective bargaining), Office of Personnel, Employee Relations and Legal relating to personnel matters, established and maintained liaison with allied municipal, county, state and federal agencies, . Creating and fostering partnerships in allied agencies as they related to traffic safety.

Lieutenant – FHP Training Academy – Troop Q - Tallahassee

FHP Training Academy Staff member, assigned instructor duties for Basic, Mandatory, Advanced and Specialized Training for sworn members, the Statewide Coordinator for Hazardous Materials, Medical First Responder, CPR, Field Training Officer Program, Legislative Liaison for pending DUI legislation, Statewide DUI Technical Committee

Sergeant – District Supervisor – Troop L - Stuart

First line supervisor for the Ft. Pierce District four County of Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie County, directly supervising 12-FTE, responded to critical incidents, unusual traffic crashes and traffic crashes involving serious injury or fatalities, alternate evidence custodian, District FTO Coordinator, Special Response Team Squad Leader, compliance with purchasing requirements, monthly inspections, annual performance appraisals,

Traffic Homicide Investigator – Troop L - Stuart

Responded to and investigated traffic crashes involving serious bodily injuries or fatalities, documenting and preserving critical evidence for criminal prosecution, preparing in-depth investigations for criminal prosecution or civil court proceedings, attending autopsies

Duty Stations:

Troop E – Miami

Troop L – Ft. Pierce

Troop L – Stuart

Troop Q – Tallahassee

Troop E – Miami

Troop G – Palatka

Troop K – Orlando

Troop F – Bradenton

Troop Q – Tallahassee


Special Duties to include:

Training Academy Recruit School Counselor/Instructor

77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st, and 82nd Recruit Schools

Rest Area Concentrated Enforcement (R.A.C.E.) Task Force

Gainesville Homicide Task Force

Martin County DUI Task Force

Hurricane Andrew Task Force

Statewide DUI Technical Committee

DHSMV Representative for Senate and House Committee

Sub-committee on Pending DUI Legislation

Inspector in Place – Office of Staff Inspections – Troop K

Troop G “Troop” Evidence Custodian

Troop G CALEA Coordinator

Northeast Florida Tactical Response Team (TRT) Commander

Subject Matter Expert (SME) Promotional Committee

Subject Matter Expert (SME) Promotional - Executive Committee

Subject Matter Expert (SME) DUI

Disaster Relief Response Team (DART) Statewide Commander

Value-Jet Crash (FHP) Shift Commander

Am-Trak Derailment (FHP) Incident Commander

Statewide DUI Coordinator

Statewide Haz-Mat Coordinator

Statewide Field Training Officer (FTO) Coordinator

Statewide Medical First Responder Coordinator

Statewide CPR Coordinator

Ft. Pierce District, Troop E & G, FTO Coordinator

FTO Revision Committee - Chairman

FTO Sergeant’s Committee - Chairman

Ft. Pierce District Wrecker Inspector

Troop L Safety School Bus Inspector

Robbery Interdiction Detail (FHP) Commander

Olympic Torch (1996) Dade County Detail Commander


1991 – Palm Beach Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

1994 – State Awards Committee Award

1996 – Letter from Governor Chiles – Value Jet Crash

1997 – G.E.M. Award

1998 – Florida Distinguished Service Award – Wild Fires

1999 – Florida State Traffic Officer of the Year – IPTM/FDOT

1999 – Buckle-Up Florida – Traffic Safety

1999 – Buckle-Up Florida – Enforcement Campaign

1999 – M.A.D.D. Beyond Call of Duty Award

1999 – Governor’s Mentoring Initiative

2000 – Governor’s Mentoring Initiative

2001 – FDOT 1st Place Occupant Safety Award – Buckle-Up Florida

1980 to present (24) twenty-four letters of commendation

1980 to present (40) forty letters of appreciation

South Charleston Police Department           

4th Avenue and “D” Street

South Charleston, West Va. 25301

Rank held:            Patrolman

Indian River Community College                       

3223 Virginia Avenue

Ft. Pierce, Florida 34950

Rank held: Adjunct Faculty Member – Police Academy

North Florida Junior College                       

Madison, Florida

Rank held: Adjunct Faculty Member – Police Academy

Institute of Police Technology and                       

Management (IPTM) – University

Of North Florida

12000 Alumni Drive

Jacksonville, Florida 32224

Rank held: Adjunct Faculty Member

Military history: None

Volunteer history: Community Leadership Roles

President Phoenix Republican Club

Rotary District 6970 Area 9 Governor

Rotary District 6970 Sergeant-At-Arms

Rotary District 6970 Governor Elect

Rotary Club Palatka Sunrise – Centennial President

United Way of Putnam County - President

United Way of Putnam County - Board of Directors

Putnam County Community Traffic Safety Team – Founding Chairman

The Lee Conlee House - Board Member

Putnam Community Medical Center Board of Trustees

Boy Scouts of America Northeast Florida Council Vice Chairman Timucua District

Putnam County Republican Executive Committee

Charter President of the Putnam Republican Club

American Cancer Society – Celebrity Waiters

Putnam County Safety Council – Board of Directors

Putnam County Chamber of Commerce – Associate Member

St. Johns River Community College Police Advisory Board - Executive Committee

Northeast Florida Law Enforcement Security Council

Civic Groups & Community Involvement

Rotary Club of Palatka Sunrise since 1998

Awards or Recognition:

“Rookie of the Year”

Service Above Self (2)

Distinguished Service Award

Premier Club

Rotary International Presidential Citation

Offices held:

Sergeant at arms (3)


Vice President


Board Director (8)

Assistant District Governor (2)

District Sergeant at arms

Area Governor

District Governor Nominee

District Governor Elect

American Cancer Society – Celebrity Waiter Fundraiser – 1999 Batman, 2000 Robin, 2001 SWAT, 2002 Spiderman, 2003 Spiderman, 2004 Batman, 2006 Batman, 2007 Spiderman

The Lee Conlee House (domestic violence shelter) – Board of Directors

Board of Trustees – Putnam Community Medical Center

United Way of Putnam County – Board of Directors & President

Putnam County Chamber of Commerce

Habitat for Humanity- Interlachen build

Putnam County Community Safety Team – founding Chairman

Putnam County Safety Council - Board Member

Masonic Lodge – Washington Lodge #58

Florida Sheriff’s Association

Florida Police Chief’s Association

Florida Association of State Troopers

American Association of State Troopers

National Rifle Association

Northeast Florida Law Enforcement Security Council

St. Johns River Community College Police Advisory Board - Executive Committee

St. Johns County Community Safety Team

Interlachen Little League & Babe Ruth Association – Board of Directors

Price Middle School - Parent Teacher Organization

Assistant Coach – Gainesville Gold – 14 Under Girls Fastpitch Softball

Assistant Coach – Gainesville Gold – 16 Under Girls Fastpitch Softball Team

Assistant Coach – Gainesville Gold – 18U Girls Fast pitch Softball

Assistant Coach – Gainesville Gold – 10U Girls Fast pitch Softball Team

Head Coach – Gainesville Gold – 10U Girls Fast pitch Softball Team

Head Coach – Gainesville GATORS 12U Girls Fast pitch Softball Team

Head Coach – Gainesville Warriors 18U High School Division Girls Fast pitch Softball Team

Interlachen High School Football Booster Club

Interlachen High School Baseball Dugout Club

Interlachen High School Assistant Coach – junior varsity & varsity softball team

West Virginia Chief of Police Association

St. Albans Drug Task Force

St. Albans Public Safety Committee

Metro Drug Enforcement Narcotics Team (MDent) – board of directors

Kanawha County Commission Public Safety Grant Committee

Public elected offices: None

Any unsuccessful political campaigns: Yes two, 2004 eliminated in the primary election and in 2012 winning the Republican primary and eliminated in the general election for Sheriff

Other political and government experience: None

Endorsements received: None

1. Why should people vote for you? There are several reasons our voters should vote for me.

I have never been employed by, associated with or volunteered for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. The majority of my law enforcement experience is with the Florida Highway Patrol and instructing with the University of North Florida’s Institute of Police Technology and Management. I do not have any hidden agendas, alliances or favoritism toward the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office or any of its members. This allows me to bring a breath of fresh air, new ideas and a global view for the delivery of professional law enforcement services to our community.

When you compare my experience with all of the other sheriff candidates it is clear I possess the highest level of education, training, leadership and command experience, the most actively involved in our community and the strongest family foundation.

My law enforcement career spans nearly thirty-two years of full time law enforcement experience, the majority with the Florida Highway Patrol, with twenty years in a leadership capacity including fifteen years at a command level and four years at an executive command level.

My education includes a Bachelor Degree from Barry University, a Certified Public Management certification from the Florida State University’s Florida Center for Public Management, over 3,000 hours of classroom training in law enforcement and criminal justice. I applied for and was selected as a Fellow for the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles Management executive leadership Fellows program.

Since moving to Putnam County in 1997 I have been actively involved in various civic groups or organizations volunteering my time to serve and help those less fortunate. I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Palatka Sunrise since 1998 serving and participating on the Scholarship Committee, the Heart and Sole Project at various elementary schools, Secret Santa Project at the Palatka Health Center, the annual Senior Luncheon at the Putnam County Fair, the annual Thanksgiving luncheon at the ARC, Vocational Service Awards and the Disaster Relief Team, where we traveled to Moss Point, Mississippi providing meals to those devastated by hurricane Katrina. I have served as a board member and President of the United Way of Putnam County, the Board of Trustees for the Putnam Community Medical Center, the Board of Directors for the Lee Conlee House and the American Cancer Society’s Celebrity Waiters as “Batman” to name a few.

My high school sweetheart and I have been married for thirty-three years. We were blessed to have raised a daughter and son. Our daughter has a bachelor degree in the medical field and our son has a vocational certification in the HVAC field. Our family has grown to include a son-in-law, a granddaughter, a grandson and three grandpuppies.

My experience, education, training, community service and family foundation all qualify me as the best candidate for Putnam County Sheriff.

2. What are the three most important issues you would address if elected and how would you address them? The three most important issues currently facing the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office are the recruitment and retention of qualified Deputies, the lack of diversity within the employees and the lack of sustainable outreach programs to the community.

A standard human resource practice is to conduct exit interviews with employees who decide to separate from employment. The best practice is a face to face interview, followed by either an electronic or written version several days after separation. These exit interviews can provide an invaluable insight why employees leave the agency.

A review of the exit interviews for the past twenty-four to sixty months would provide an essential snapshot identifying the specific reasons members have separated.

Another valuable tool is a “climate survey” where we interview current employees to identify what incentives motivate them to stay and negative factors motivating them to separate from employment.

After reviewing the exit interviews and climate survey interviews we will establish a list of the top five negative factors motivating members to separate from the Department.

We will establish “Quality Circles” to provide the ability to create strategies identifying specific goals and objectives to reduce the attrition rate, increase our retention rate and recruit new members. We will solicit current employees to volunteer to serve on the Quality Circles. Once those strategies have been finalized we will publicize those strategies the County Commission and the community.

Penn State University and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted a survey several years ago identifying the top ten reason officers left agencies. Although pay was identified as a factor it was seldom the top factor. Other factors were respect, appreciation, recognition and being allowed to have a voice in matters directly affecting them.

Two primary issues identified for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is the low starting salary for both Deputies and Communication Dispatchers.

For the past seven years at the end of the fiscal year the Sheriff’s Office has returned unused budgeted funds to the commission as an act of “good faith”.

The amount of funds returned to the commission varies from $400,000 to $800,000 depending upon the fiscal year.

Instead of returning all of the unused funds to the commission use a portion to provide our employees with an annual bonus. Provide a bonus of $2,000 to all sworn members, $1,500 to communications personnel, $500 to all support personnel and in “good faith” still return $200,000 or more to the commission. Obviously the amount varies depending upon fiscal year but we need to take care of our members.

The Federal mandates for employer healthcare coverage have driven premium rates up. To provide the best healthcare coverage at an equitable cost to our members we need to solicit bids from competitive vendors for the lowest premiums.

We will determine whether to stay in the Putnam County employee healthcare group, as a standalone group becoming self-insured, partner with other groups through either the Florida Sheriff’s Association or the National Sheriff’s Association or with the State of Florida Department of Management Services. The alternative providing the best coverage for our members at an affordable premium will be awarded the contract for our members.

There is a lack of diversity in the leadership positions within the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. The entire command staff, the rank of Captain and above, the middle the management positions, rank of Lieutenant and the line supervisors, Sergeants, are all white male. There are no females, African American, Hispanic or Asians in the law enforcement leadership positions in the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and that is not reflective of our community. The Correction Division has limited diversity in the Lieutenant and Sergeant ranks but they have no contact or interaction with the community outside the confines of the jail.

The best way to obtain diversity in leadership is by creating a leadership mentoring program. The program will target and identify specific members who have the desire to become visionary leaders. It will provide direct mentoring at the various ranks, training opportunities in leadership, supervision and management best practices. This will allow us to develop strong visionary leaders for the future.

There is a lack of outreach programs provided for the community. Outreach programs allow us to educate the community in crime trends, crime prevention techniques or methods, create partnerships and identify strengths and weaknesses for the delivery of professional law enforcement services.

Outreach programs provide an invaluable resource for making our community safer at little or no costs.

Such programs include could include FLEETWATCH , NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH groups, DRUG AWARENESS, EDUCATION & RECOVERY programs, TEEN COURT program, etc.

3. What other issues do you see as important? Several other issues affecting Putnam County directly related to the Sheriff’s Office is animal control, protecting our youth, domestic violence, drugs and unreported agricultural thefts.

The issue of stray and abandoned cats and dogs is a both public health and safety concern. The implementation of a “PAWS on Parole” program utilizing a portion of the old jail while creating a partnership with the Humane Society of Northeast Florida, Putnam County Animal Control, the Florida Department of Corrections East Palatka and the Corrections Division of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office will ease that concern. It will mirror the program already in place in Alachua County. The program will utilize inmates for the proper care and training of animals better preparing them for adoption and significantly reducing them from being euthanized.

The greatest asset in Putnam County is our children and we need to do more to protect them. We will place a uniform deputy and marked patrol car at every school throughout the Putnam County. Working in partnership with the school superintendent and school board members to implement the D.A.R.E. Drug Awareness Resistance Education program for all 5th graders, the G.R.E.A.T. Gang Resistance Education and Training for all Middle and High School Students, a Cyberbullying Prevention Program, a Human Trafficking Prevention Program. These programs will pay dividends in the future by protecting our children today.

Creating a partnership with our local State Attorney’s Office, our County and Circuit Court Judges to adopt a “Teen Court” for first time youthful offenders. Teen Court is comprised teens participating in the role of judge, prosecutor, defense attorney and jury at the guidance of a coordinator. Teen Court is a deferred prosecution option program for first time youthful offenders who are charged with minor, non-violent, crimes. Their peers will determine consequences for their actions, which could include letters of apology, community service, restitution to victims or other penalties deemed by appropriate by the court. Once the offender has successfully complied with the program their charges are deferred and they then become part of the Teen Court. Teen Court allows offenders who have made a bad choice to have a deferred prosecution in lieu of having a criminal record which could potentially prevent them from joining the military, entering into college or obtaining a job.

Overwhelming throughout the community is the concern over illegal drug activity. The drug activity in Putnam County is not solely a law enforcement issue, it is a societal issue and we cannot arrest our way out of it. The first step is the education, awareness and prevention programs for not only our children but everyone in the community. The second step is the creation of a Drug Task Force with representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, all the Police Departments in the County, the Health Department, the School District, the Hospital Emergency Room Personnel, the Churches and Addiction Recovery Programs. The Task Force will identify specific concerns creating strategies and solutions to address illegal drug activities. The quality of life in Putnam County is linked directly to our illegal drug activities. The third step is aggressive enforcement and zero tolerance for street level illegal drug activities.            

Putnam County has one of the highest rates of Domestic Violence per capita of any County in the State of Florida. We will establish a zero tolerance for domestic violence. When our Deputies respond to a domestic violence incident and probable cause exists they will make an arrest regardless of if the victim signs an affidavit to prosecute or not. Our victim’s advocate will follow up with the battered victim and working with the Lee Conlee House coordinate counseling and assistance.

Each year throughout Putnam County hundreds of thousands of dollars in unreported crimes and vandalism are committed against our Ranchers, Farmers and Foresters. We will mirror a “Ranch and Grove” program from the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office established over thirty years ago to combat agricultural thefts in the citrus industry. The program will coordinate efforts from the Sheriff’s Office, the Putnam County Cattleman’s Association, the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission and Forestry Service identifying and documenting agricultural thefts or vandalism to develop criminal cases for arrest and prosecution.

4. What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public? With the exception of confidentiality for records or information provided by Florida State Statutes the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office should be open and accessible to the public.

The easiest way to accomplish accessibility is through the use of social media with a Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other media forms designed to inform.

Communications with the public is an essential key to creating trust between the public and law enforcement.

With the use of Federal Asset Sharing Funds, Department of Justice Byrne Grants and Homeland Security Grant funding every uniformed member will be outfitted with a body camera. It is not a matter of if body cameras will become mandated State law it is a matter of when. There is a lack of trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve. The use of body cameras will assist law enforcement in rebuilding trust with the community. It also provides invaluable information identifying the strengths and weaknesses in the delivery of professional law enforcement services.

At least on a quarterly basis we will hold “Town Hall Meetings” in various locations throughout Putnam County. The purpose of the meetings is to exchange information between law enforcement and community members but most importantly to listen and identify issues or concerns from our citizens.

For nearly twenty years Deputy Bruce Meade with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office has successfully conducted a “Citizen’s Police Academy” for residents helping to create a better understanding of the role of law enforcement. We will implement a “Citizen’s Police Academy” mirroring the Manatee County program to assist us in establishing trust and creating transparency in delivery of services.

A great resource for exchanging information, identifying issues or concerns is the participation in the Putnam County “Ministerial Associations”. Members will be assigned as a liaison for each association.

“Neighborhood Watch Programs” are an invaluable resource for engaging our citizens in identifying suspicious or criminal activity in their respective neighborhoods. A patrol deputy will be assigned as the liaison between the Watch Program and the Sheriff’s Office so citizens have direct contact with a member who is familiar with their geographical area.

The creation of an “Advisory Board” selected with members from various locations throughout Putnam County to advise us on current or potential issues or concerns arising in the community.

Assigning members as “Community Outreach Liaisons” for our African American, Hispanic, Asian and LGPTQ communities to establish open lines of communication helping to build trust and understanding.

Allow “Ride-Along Program” where citizens can ride in the right front seat with patrol deputies during their shifts experiencing firsthand the professional delivery of service our members provide to the community.

Adopt “Community Policing Concepts” as the cornerstone for all operations throughout the Sheriff’s Office.

Contact and partner with the cellphone providers in Putnam County to “Create Mobile Apps” to create immediate access to information needed by the public.

5. Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give details. No

6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details. No

7. Are there any personal details about yourself voters would be interested in knowing? My father was a career Army enlisted man serving two tours of duty in Vietnam and retiring as a Command Sergeant Major after 21 years of service.

My mother has spent her entire life serving others and the majority of her adult life she was a police dispatcher.

I met my wife in Ms. Hodges American Literature Class during the second semester of my junior year in high school.

My favorite TV show as a child was “Adam-12” because it showed professional law enforcement in its truest sense.

My favorite TV as an adult is “Survivor” because it has many similarities to being a candidate for an elected office.

My favorite author is Michael Connolly because his books have both mystery and criminal aspect and he has a Florida connection.

The last book I read was “Rules for a Knight” by Ethan Hawke, a nice guide to live your life by.

My favorite place to eat is Sonny’s Barbeque.

My favorite desert is chocolate cone from Dairy Queen.

My greatest accomplishment in life is being a parent and a grandparent.



Age: 51

Years living in area: 45

Family: Wife: Becki Kinney; Sons: Jackson Lee Kinney (20, heavy equipment mechanic) and Daniel Kinney (22, student at Liberty University) and Rev. Jesse Kinney (father) and Pat Kinney (mother) (both deceased); Linda (sister) and Robert Fryer; David (brother) and Katrina Kinney

Education: Palatka High School—graduated 1983

St. Augustine Vo-Tech: Law Enforcement Certification—1984

Kaplan College: A.S. in Criminal Justice—2004

Flagler College: B.S. in Public Administration—2008

I have completed the following continuing professional education during my 29 years in law enforcement:

Agency Inspector Course

Breath Test Instructor Course

Breath Test Operator Renewal Course

Case Preparation and Court Presentation

Certified Law Enforcement Motorcycle Officer

CMS General Instructor Transition Course

CMS General Instructor Update Course

Community and Human Relations

Criminal Law

Drug Abuse Resistance Education

Field Training Officer

General Instructor Refresher Course

Laser Speed Measuring Device (LSDM) Instructor Transition Course For Radar Instructors

Line Supervision

Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Investigations

Radar Speed Measurement Instructors Training Course For Law Enforcement Officers

School Resource Officer

Supervision of the Youthful Offender

Traffic Homicide Investigation

Current Occupation: On June 29, 2015, I resigned from my position as Sergeant with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office in order to run for Sheriff. This was done to avoid any conflict or accusation of campaigning while being paid by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

Previous employment: Palatka Police Department: 1986–1987

Crescent City Police Department: 1987–1989

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office: 1989–2015

Instructor at St. Johns River State College: 2004–Present

Military history: None

Volunteer History: American Cancer Society Relay for Life

American Diabetes Tour De Cure Bicycle Race

Christ Independent Church Youth Mission Trip

Christ Independent Methodist Church—Youth Leader

College Park Baptist Church Youth Mission Trip

Dunn’s Creek Baptist Church Building and Grounds Committee

Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches Summer Camp

Habitat for Humanity

Keep Putnam Beautiful

Mothers Against Drunk Driving—Camp Instructor

Palatka Christian Service Center

Palatka Elks Club

Palatka Little League Baseball

Palatka Police Athletic League

Palatka Pop Warner Football

Project Lighthouse Autistic and Alzheimer’s Locating and Tracking—Board Member

Putnam County Police Athletic League

Sheriff’s Office Explorer Unit

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church—Youth Leader

Public elected offices: None

Any unsuccessful political campaigns: None

Other political and government experience: Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation—Assessor

Endorsements received: International Ironworkers Association

1. Why should people vote for you? I believe my resume shows I am the best educated, most qualified, and most experienced candidate seeking office as Putnam County Sheriff.

My family moved to Putnam County in 1971. Inspired by my family’s dedication to service in many capacities, I personally started my journey of serving and protecting the citizens of Putnam County after graduating from the Police Academy in 1984 and beginning my career in law enforcement in 1986. This position began my journey of over twenty-nine years’ experience, preparation, and education to earn the trust and respect of the citizens of Putnam County, with the goal of becoming Sheriff in 2016.

With this goal in mind, I was able to keep my focus on integrity while serving the community. Laying my head on the pillow at night with a clear conscience is very important to me.

I know the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and its inner workings. I am familiar with the budget and the issues surrounding the finances of Putnam County. I am confident I will make the necessary changes to benefit the citizens and members of the Sheriff’s Office of Putnam County.

My plan to reduce crime and place more Deputies on patrol will be evident from day one.

Our county desperately needs leadership, transparency, integrity, and professionalism. My goal is to bring these qualities to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

2. What are the three most important issues you would address if elected, and how would you address them?

(1) Law Enforcement Salaries and Retention of Employees. This is VERY important for many reasons. When Deputies do not remain with our agency for any length of time, we become an agency full of under-trained and inexperienced Officers. This does not serve our citizens.

Our agency has become a training ground for other agencies around us. An alarming number of Deputies live outside of our county.

I have a plan to cut down on an overly heavy command staff. Our present Sheriff campaigned on this same promise, only to add to the command staff once he was in office, leaving our Deputies and Corrections Officers with poverty-level pay. I will examine the Sheriff’s Office spending and see where cuts can be made to divert the funds to salaries. I will have a positive, transparent working relationship with the County Commission and will make our Officers’ salaries and retention at the top of the agenda at every meeting.

While salaries are paramount, I understand that treating your employees with respect is very important as well. I speak with current Deputies on a daily basis. The morale at the Sheriff’s Office is at an all-time low, which contributes to Officers finding other employment. I will improve the overall atmosphere and put in place morale-boosting practices. We will all work as a team.

These improvements will increase the level and quality of protection and service the citizens of Putnam County receive from our agency.

(2) Drug Sales/Use and its Effects on our Community. This is one of the biggest topics of concern when talking with citizens across the county. We must make this a multi-angle approach. We will be very proactive in combating the use and manufacture of methamphetamine plaguing our community. Our focus will be on illicit drugs and those who sell them and create an unsafe environment. My wife and I have both witnessed first hand the effects of narcotics on our community: I, through my twenty-nine years of law enforcement experience, and Becki through her many years as assistant clinical director of the Putnam County Medical Center Emergency Room. Drug abuse destroys families. Our Officers will be trained and equipped to help steer family members of drug-addicted persons towards help that can be obtained from numerous sources. This has never been a focus of Law Enforcement in our area but will be under my administration.

(3) Focusing on our Youth in our Schools. As a former School Resource Officer, I have seen first hand what an intervention program such as D.A.R.E. (Drug Awareness Resistance Education) can do to positively impact children’s lives. I was a D.A.R.E. instructor, and I taught in every elementary school in Putnam County. When I left the program, I painfully watched other Sheriffs remove the program from the schools and reduce the number of School Resource Officers from 14 to 11 and then to 8. The program was so powerful that after many years, I still have people recognize me as their D.A.R.E. Officer and tell me stories of how the program has positively impacted their lives. I have even had the pleasure of being in two of those former students’ weddings. I know D.A.R.E. is not the answer to all of our problems, but it is a start to becoming proactive instead of reactive to these detrimental issues in our school system and children's lives. If we can get a student to believe in himself or herself on the elementary level, then we are much less likely to see them getting into trouble when they become a high school student. Again, this isn’t a fix-all answer, but it is a great start.

3. What other issues do you see as important? The Insurance issue has become a problem that will continue in the future if it is not addressed. Although the administration saw there were dwindling funds for insurance through the county, no action was taken. This should have been acted upon long before now. I believe there has to be a way to find better insurance at better rates. I would seek information and assistance from the Florida Sheriff’s Association and other Sheriff’s Offices throughout the state to see what they are doing to combat the high cost of insurance. I would also try to work with the County Commissioners and seek ways to get our Officers higher pay and better benefits. Every employee at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office deserves a leader who is not afraid to stand up and fight for improvement in the Sheriff’s Office on every level. They deserve higher pay, fair treatment, and better benefits. I will not run from these issues, and I will not send others in my place. I will take this fight head on.

4. What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public? I believe government should be accessible to every citizen of the United States. Please understand, however, that if a case is being actively investigated or is at a critical stage, the public will not be allowed to see certain key information pertaining to it. Also, I will not release the names of violent crimes victims or sexual crimes victims to the public. I would be accessible to those who want to speak with me in person, and I will answer my phone and talk directly with the citizens of Putnam County. If I can’t answer the phone, I will return the phone call as soon as possible.

5. Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give details. No

6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details. No

7. Are there any personal details about yourself voters would be interested in knowing? I love Putnam County and the citizens who reside here. I have felt welcome, and I have chosen to stay here when others have left to chase higher wages and a chance to gain rank or a higher position. I have resided continually in Putnam County since 1971. My wife also works in our county, and we support Putnam County by shopping here, dining here, and supporting other local businesses. During my career, I have watched a generation of children grow up in our community and am now seeing them raising their own children, as well. I have the experience, knowledge, education, and most importantly a PASSION to serve this community with everything I have.

I have been honored to receive many awards during my time as a Law Enforcement Officer, including:

Palatka Daily News Best Putnam Deputy of the Year: 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011

Above and Beyond Award: 2015

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) Award: 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001

Governor’s Award for M.A.D.D. 100: 2004

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Year Award: 1998

Fraternal Order of Police Officer of the Year Award: 1993

Lake Lodge F.A.& M. 72 - Officer of the Year Award: 1993

Putnam County Sheriff Life Saving Award: 1993

American Legion Officer of the Year Award: 1992

My number-one goal is to make this a better county and a safer county for the people who live here.



Age: 51

Years living in area: 51

Family: Married to my lovely wife, Tammy. Tammy is a teacher at Kelly Smith Elementary School. My mother worked for the late Dr. Hall and at Putnam Community Hospital. My father was a plumber in Palatka for many years. I have 2 sisters. My sister Janey retired from the State of Florida. She and her husband, Tim, a retired state trooper, currently live in Las Vegas. My sister Lolly retired from Peniel Baptist Academy. She and her husband Jim, who retired as the Palatka High School band director and currently directs the theatre program at Palatka High, live in Palatka. Tammy and I have 6 children. The oldest three are from my previous marriage. Tanner is 24 years old and is the head pro at the Palatka golf club. Taran, 21, just completed his redshirt freshman year at Warner College where he plays baseball. Teyler, 19, graduated from Palatka High last year where he played baseball. Andrea and Trevor are 16 years old and are from Tammy’s previous marriage. I recently adopted them and they now carry the last name of Tipton. They are beginning their junior year at Palatka High. Our son Trenton, 11, is about to start 6th grade.

Education: Graduated from Palatka High in 1983. Attended St. Johns River Community College on a baseball scholarship. Attained an AS degree in criminal justice from St. Johns. Graduated from St. Johns Police Academy in 2002.

Current occupation: Currently employed as a police officer with the Palatka Police Department.

Previous employment: Worked at the Palatka Police Department from February 2004 to December 2013. Went to work for the Putnam County Sheriffs Office as a bailiff from December 2013 to February 2014. Returned to the Palatka Police Department in February 2014 to present.

Military history: None

Volunteer history: I have coached numerous teams for the City of Palatka, the Putnam County Recreation Department, Palatka Babe Ruth, South Putnam Babe Ruth and the YMCA. Taught RA’s at First Baptist Church. I have coached men’s softball and baseball travel teams.

Public elected offices: None

Any unsuccessful political campaigns: None

Other political and government experience: None

Endorsements received: None

1. Why should people vote for you? I was born and raised in Putnam County and I have never left for any reason. I have and am currently raising a family here. Therefore, the safety and quality of life in Putnam County is very important to me. I will bring new life to the Putnam County Sheriffs Office. I will make it an organization we all can be proud of. I will bring responsibility, accountability and the right leadership to progress forward. I will be accessible and fight for my employees. Great leaders are born, not made. I will lead the Putnam County Sheriffs Office to new heights and bring the respect that this community deserves.

2. What are the three most important issues you would address if elected and how would you address them? I believe the first issue that must be addressed is the morale at the sheriff’s office. Bobby Bowden said the most important element in building a winning program is the morale of the troops. I believe I can drastically improve the morale at no cost to the taxpayers. The second issue would be the command staff. It needs to be downsized. There is no way someone should be on the command staff that has been terminated from another law enforcement agency for falsifying a report. This alone could save a large amount of money that could be used to help other struggling employees. The third would be to improve the salary and benefit package that is offered. This would also improve the retention of employees.

3. What other issues do you see as important? I believe it is important to connect with the youth of our county. I plan on expanding the PAL program. I plan on sponsoring a baseball team out of my own pocket. I plan on working closely with the school system and bringing the DARE program back. It is important that we keep attacking the drug problem we have in this county. We need to work closely with other agencies as well as the state attorneys office to get the maximum penalties against repeat offenders. As a county, we must make every effort to bring businesses here. That will take maximum effort from everyone in the community and we must all be willing to make sacrifices and concessions.

4. What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public? I will be a sheriff that is accessible. I will have an open door policy that will allow both the public and employees the opportunity to voice concerns without feeling they will be targeted because of their feelings. I would like to meet with the local neighborhood watch groups monthly and hear their concerns.

5. Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give details. No.

6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details. No.

7. Are there any personal details about yourself voters would be interested in knowing? Approximately 6 years ago, I had a small “bump” appear on the right side of my neck. Over time, it grew larger and progressed to be the size of a baseball. After seeing several physicians, my wife made me an appointment at Shands in Gainesville. I saw an ENT who did a biopsy. It was discovered I had lymphoma. I took the 12 week FMLA leave from work. There was about a 2 week period from the time I was diagnosed to the time I started chemotherapy. I missed no work during that 2 week period knowing I had cancer. I worked until 6:00 am the day I started chemo. I went through 4 rounds of chemotherapy and 17 rounds of radiation. I went back to work after using 10 weeks of leave. When I went back to work, I was still going through treatments. When I started the treatments, I weighed about 125 pounds. Today, I weight between 175-180 consistently. I believe, through my experience, that prayer is the best medicine. This is one of the reasons I have said from the beginning of this campaign that I will pay out of my own pocket to have “In God We Trust” put on every marked sheriffs office vehicle.



Age: 64

Years living in area: Moved from Miami to Putnam in 1998 (18 yrs).

Family: Married to my wife, Leah this Valentine’s Day will be 25 years, we have 4 children, my 3 our 1.

Education: I have a high school diploma and attended Miami Dade Jr. College, I have several hundred hours of specialized police training, a certified police instructor (expired), I also have several hundred hours of business and administrative classes and seminars.

Current occupation: I currently own TMT Auto Clinic in Interlachen which I purchased in 1998 and am a part time police officer with the Interlachen Police Department since June 2000.

Previous employment: I retired from the Metro Dade Police Department in 1998, I was there from 1981 as a reserve officer until 1986 when I went full time, prior to that I owned my own business’ from 1973 to 1986, 2 full service, service stations, a garage, a parts store and machine shop.

Military history: No military service.

Volunteer history: I have an extensive community involvement and volunteer history, Town of Interlachen special events, Lions Club, American Legion, Eagles, VFW, Society of St. Vincent DePaul, St. Johns Catholic Church, all the local public schools, Babe Ruth Baseball, Rotary Club events and others.

Public elected offices: No government elected office but was elected as the Chairman of the Putnam County Republican Executive Committee of which I still am.

Any unsuccessful political campaigns: I have ran for the sheriff 3 times, didn’t win the office which makes the bid unsuccessful but I don’t think it was a total loss I learned a lot about the county and local politics.

Other political and government experience: My other government experiences are: I was appointed to the Putnam County Planning Commission in 2004, the Putnam County Contractors Review Panel and the Disciplinary Board in 2008 which I still serve on, I was appointed by the governor to the Northeast Florida Planning Council and served close to 2 years.

Endorsements received: To date I have received two endorsement, Niger Innis, National Civil Rights Activist and George Farrell President of the Blac Pac Org.

1. Why should people vote for you? With my business resume along with my law enforcement experience my involvement with the county government and community, I am the only candidate that has all these attributes that can offer the citizens a completely new well rounded and outside approach to operating the Sheriff’s Office. I have worked in the public sector all my life; I understand what it takes to and know how to treat people with the respect they deserve. My platform pledge is to give the citizens a triple a Sheriff’s Office by being Aware – Accountable – Approachable at all times while maintaining a fully transparent Sheriff’s Office, I will practice what I pledge not just say it to get elected, my integrity is more important to me than the job and I will not give that away to anyone or thing.

2. What are the three most important issues you would address if elected and how would you address them? Man power, public perception and money. Most of the problems are related to the low salaries. Not being part of the office at this time I can only speculate that some monies are wasted putting that aside the county needs to promote itself and broaden its tax base we can’t continue to increase taxes, borrow money, rely on grants and ask for more MSBU’s. We are not going to keep employees without better compensation, this goes for the county as a whole, my plan to combat this short term is to seek and recruit retired able law enforcement personnel who have a pension and can work for the lesser amount who are already trained thus saving money / time. I know this will work as I have already talked to several who have said they would be interested some part time some full time. This would work for awhile, giving the economy and county time to build. The public perception can be nurtured by listening, building trust and respect.

3. What other issues do you see as important? Another issue is the low morale of the employees, and I hear the innuendos about the lack of respect, being in business as long as I have I tend to think most of the morale problems stem from the low salaries, which bring us back to the money woes. When you have seasoned officers not making any more than new and no expectations of improvement you’re going to have problems. Maybe it’s time to rethink brick and mortar and put employees first.

4. What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public? I have stated since 2004 (my first run) that I will have a citizens review panel, I will have senior personnel attending homeowners associations and public meetings thru out the county. I’m not a proponent of quarterly meetings as like most they are not well attended, people tend to participate in their own clubs and meetings we need to participate with them at their convenience not ours. I will increase citizen and volunteer participation within the department.

5. Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give details: Never been charged with a crime let alone a conviction, never had an ethics violation filed against me, was disciplined 3 times by the Metro Dade Police Department 1. 1989 son involved in an auto theft ring, sustained complaint against me was; that I should have known and taken appropriate action, I received a 20 day suspension, looking back I should have paid better attention, not giving an excuse but a lot was going on my dad was here in Putnam dying, my first wife was divorcing me and yes my son was on probation, 2&3 one record of counseling 1991, written reprimand 1990 both were for being discourteous to a citizen. No other complaints or incidents. I spent another 9 years working for Metro Dade receiving numerous accolades and awards before retiring to Putnam County.

6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details. Never filed bankruptcy or been delinquent on any taxes.

7. Are there any personal details about yourself voters would be interested in knowing? I think I have given a lot of information about myself but in addition I am in very good health I take no medication of any kind, I took a business I bought in 1998 for $35,000 and built it to a value of over a million which shows my ability to deal with all kinds of people. I was told by many when I bought the business I wouldn’t last a year because I was from a big town and people would not deal with me, I’m starting my 19th year at the same location with a data base of over 7500 names. I do know how to deal with people. 

Palatka Daily News

1825 St. Johns Ave.
Palatka, FL 32177
(386) 312-5200


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