As I begin my 10th year of service as sheriff, I remain humbled and thankful to the citizens of Lee County who have entrusted me to lead the largest law enforcement agency in Southwest Florida.
This agency continues to evolve and grow, but one aspect remains constant: Our commitment to protect and serve.
Since becoming sheriff:
- Lee County's unincorporated crime rate declined 38 percent;
- Total calls for service grew 40 percent to 520,008;
- We added 241 employees, while Lee County added 122,114 residents; and,
LCSO annual report now online
A copy of the 2013 Annual Crime Report from the Lee County Sheriff's Office is available online. Go to: www.sheriffleefl.org, click on the "About Us" section and then click on "Public Reports."
In addition to general crime statistics, there is information on the agency's Youth Services Division and Corrections Bureau. There is also a listing of the community programs offered to the residents of Southwest Florida.
The budget overview included gives a look at the sheriff's office budget and how it is utilized throughout the agency.
- The average daily population of inmates dropped to 1,640 from its peak of 2,218 in 2008. Lee County housed 1,448 in 2004.
To better serve our residents, we have expanded our Public Services Division, which now oversees the 169-member-strong V.O.I.C.E. volunteer, Crime Prevention and Senior Services Units, the Gated Community Liaison and other outreach efforts.
Through our partnership with the University of Illinois Center for Public Safety and Justice, we are developing national protocols for law enforcement and communities to protect people with Alzheimer's and related dementias as well as offering training and outreach to care givers and law enforcement personnel.
Other programs include Communities Against Senior Exploitation, which helps protect against elder fraud, and driver programs for both senior and teen drivers. As the economy continues to recover, we are working with the construction industry to crack down on unlicensed contractors and other construction issues.
We also are making employee wellness and community outreach a priority. We have nearly 150 employees currently participating in two Florida Gulf Coast University fitness initiatives. Our Wellness Committee is developing incentive-based, voluntary fitness standards that complement existing health improvement programs. One third of the top 10 visits to our employee health clinic are preventive based.
Our ultimate goal is to improve the health and wellness of our employees while ultimately reducing insurance costs.
I am very pleased that the crime rate in unincorporated Lee County declined 6 percent last year and that our deputies remained safe despite being involved in five fatal gunfights with armed suspects in 2013. Still, 33 law enforcement officers nationally lost their lives to gunfire, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Keep their families in your prayers.
Sheriff Mike Scott is the head of the Lee County Sheriff's Office.