FDSA Continues to Serve its Members Through the Most Challenging Times
It has been a rough couple of months for law enforcement in Florida with the loss of three deputies in three weeks and a report of another line-of-duty death this morning as I am writing this column.
It is a stark and challenging reminder of what it means to be a deputy and put on the star every day. There are no guarantees in this line of work, except that no matter what happens to you or your family, there are thousands of men and women who have your back – ready to step in and step up to do whatever is necessary.
You can also be sure that the Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association will do everything possible to support you in everything from legal issues at work to providing financial assistance for an unforeseen family tragedy.
With heavy hearts, we have had the opportunity to provide financial assistance for four families recently through our Lend A Hand program. While we wish these funds were never touched, being able to deliver these funds – often in person and within 24 hours – to the impacted family is rewarding and makes a real difference.
In mid-April, we went to Gilchrist County to deliver checks for $1,000 for the families of 30-year-old Sgt. Noel Ramirez, a seven-year-veteran; and 25-year-old Deputy Taylor Lindsey, a three-year-veteran. Both men were on a lunch break when they were ambushed and killed in a Trenton restaurant.
In the midst of that tragedy as other agencies responded for assistance, Levy County Sheriff's Office Deputy Kevin Davis and his wife, Correctional Assistant Renae Davis, were providing services to the citizens of Gilchrist County when lost their 3-year-old son in a drowning accident.
Our hearts are broken for this family and all those who know and love them. In addition to the Lend A Hand contribution, the FDSA created a GoFundMe account to assist the family with funeral costs. As of this printing, the page has already surpassed it fundraising goal of $5,000.
Then in early May, Highlands County Deputy William Gentry, Jr., was shot and killed in the line of duty by while responding to a neighbor dispute. Deputy Gentry is survived by his parents and brother who is also an HSCO deputy. The money raised is going toward final and unexpected travel expenses incurred before he succumbed to his injuries. In addition to the $1,000 contribution from Lend A Hand, FDSA set up a GoFundMe account, which has raised more than $7,000 as of this writing.
In addition to the financial assistance, FDSA will remain available to support the agencies and families however possible.
Another way FDSA is serving its members is to facilitate the availability of training opportunities – especially for small, rural agencies that do not typically have the resources for such advanced training.
We are excited to announce our partnership with the Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training (MCTFT) program, which is is a federally funded, nationally responsive partnership among the Department of Defense, National Guard Bureau and the Florida National Guard.
MCTFT offers a wide range of capabilities at its Camp Blanding Joint Training Center campus, and through its unique affiliation with St. Petersburg College, a regionally accredited four-year institution. The program provides tuition-free counterdrug training to: combatant commands, military services, federal agencies and state and local law enforcement as well as community leaders.
The program provides unique, tuition-free counterdrug and counter transnational organized crime training in support of DoD strategies, as well as the strategy of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Since its inception in 1993, MCTFT has trained more than 6 million students from all 50 states and four U.S. territories.
MCTFT’s 51 course offerings are conducted at their location, your location, online or via distance learning. Their tactical and strategic instructional staff is drawn from across both the military and law enforcement tactical and special operations communities with decades of real-world and instructional experience. The unique nature of MCTFT provides leading-edge operational skills development for students from agencies at every level of government.
We are very excited to help bring this training to our members and hope you take advantage of it. You can learn more about the program at or request a no-cost visit at http://www.MCTFT.org.
A special thanks goes to our FDSA Education Committee members who are overseeing this project and working to create educational opportunities for our members: Chief Deputy John Creamer, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office; Major Brad Smith, undersheriff at Bradford County Sheriff’s Office; and Lt. Bobby Green, Leon County Sheriff’s Office.
Thank you to all our members for the opportunity to serve you. If you ever have any questions about membership or what it means to be part of FDSA, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.