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Deputy Loses Hand But Not His Determination

For Marion County Deputy Mike Joyner, it is going to take more than losing a hand to keep him from doing his job -- or changing his outlook on life.

Deputy Joyner, a farm work crew officer, was working at the University of Florida's Plant Science Research & Education Unit in Citra on October 16, 2012, when his hand was caught in a corn harvesting machine while attempting to clear a clog of corn stalks.

After receiving help from several inmates, Marion County Fire Rescue arrived and quickly bandaged the deputy’s hand and transported him to Shands at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

The Benefits of Race Training for Life as a Deputy Sheriff

A couple of months ago, I was traveling home after a rather normal day at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. My mind was on what I was going to do after I got home. Suddenly, the radio blared “man with a gun.” The dispatcher gave the address, as we have heard a hundred times before, and units began to give their location. As I absorbed the address, I looked at the next street sign, and realized I was at the location. Immediately, my heart started racing and my mind suddenly went into high gear.

This is the life of a deputy sheriff – one minute all is calm and our minds are thinking of a thousand other things. Then, in a matter of seconds, the call comes in and our heart and pulse begin to hit triple digits. In 2013, heart attacks claimed the lives of 10 law-enforcement officers, compared to two in 2012.

Are some of these preventable? Why the increase? Are there things law-enforcement officers can do to decrease the chances of these types of deaths? I would say yes.

FDSA Online Store Now Open

Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association’s online store is now open. The store features apparel – including shirts, outwear and caps – as well as FDSA-branded accessories for law enforcement members and supporters. Visit the online store to see the available items and show your support for FDSA.

In Memoriam: Jerry Whitehead, Union County Sheriff

All of us at the Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association join Florida sheriffs, their staffs and the entire law enforcement community in mourning the loss of Jerry Whitehead, Union County Sheriff, who passed away December 18, 2013, at the age of 60.

Sheriff Whitehead’s career was characterized by service, not just to his county, but to his fellow sheriffs and the state of Florida. He was a long-time member of the Florida Sheriffs Association and held several leadership positions throughout the years including: secretary, treasurer, board member, vice president and president.

Big Bend Officers Give Kids Their First Wheels

Not all kids wake up on Christmas morning to a pile of presents under a tree. Thankfully, Santa has a few helpers in Tallahassee that make sure the season is bright for needy children in the Big Bend Area.

Since 1999, Cops for Kids of Tallahassee has provided more than 4,000 bicycles and helmets, as well as school clothes and supplies, to needy and deserving children in their community. This non-profit organization, comprised of law enforcement officers in the Tallahassee area, works to foster positive relationships between law enforcement and citizens while benefiting and protecting the children in the region.

Lend A Hand Celebrates Generous Donations

As a Florida deputy, or a person who works with one, you understand the inherent danger of having a job that includes the protection of citizens and their families on a daily basis. But who steps in and supports these brave officers and staff members in their times of need? The FDSA Lend A Hand Program was created to provide assistance to deputies, staff members and their families when an accident, illness or family emergency creates a potential financial disaster.

FDSA Enhances Membership with Extended Legal Benefits

The Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association is pleased to announce its new strategic partner for legal services: U.S. Legal Services. This change in providers is part of FDSA’s mission to bring quality services and added value to its membership.

FDSA Enhanced Members and their covered family members will now receive a more comprehensive security package: the Family Defender Plan. Not only will members receive all of the legal benefits they are used to – such as office consultations and IRS Audit Protection – they will receive them at a lower rate. In most cases, U.S. Legal Services covers 100 percent of attorneys’ fees, and offers a 33.3 percent discount in other areas. The Family Defender Plan also includes new areas of coverage including: workers’ compensation, business law and financial coaching.

C.O.P.S. Provides Care for Families of Those Lost

When a deputy is killed in the line of duty, it is devastating to the family, the agency and often, the community. Organizations such as Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), play a pivotal role in serving as a resource for those affected, and we are grateful for their involvement throughout Florida.

C.O.P.S. is a non-profit organization founded in 1984 to assist in rebuilding these shattered lives by contributing to the emotional and psychological well-being of survivors via programs, scholarships and peer-support at the national, state and local levels.

Free First Responders’ Bibles Now Available

The Mike Gallagher Show Charitable Foundation has partnered with the National Bible Association to print and distribute a First Responders’ Bible to those dedicated to keeping their communities safe. Each bible includes a Spiritual Fitness Manual and a guide to overcoming stress and trauma in life.

FDSA Online Store Coming Soon

Coming later this fall, you’ll be able to show your support for FDSA, literally. The association will sell FDSA-branded items including shirts, baseball caps, Tervis tumblers, and vehicle tag frames via its new online store. Stay tuned for more information soon.

In Memoriam: Charlotte County Sergeant Mike Wilson

Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Mike Wilson was killed in the line of duty on August 5, 2013, at the age of 42. Sergeant Wilson was responding to a domestic violence call at an apartment complex on Veterans Boulevard in Port Charlotte.

Enhanced Membership Provides Benefits After Home Accident

Diane Denemark Pickering, director of communications for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, was having an average day at home when finishing a load of laundry caused an accident that would keep her out of work for seven weeks. The whole experience could have been as financially painful as it was physically, but Pickering was covered by accidental disability coverage provided by her Enhanced Membership in the Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association.

She was injured doing something she had done a hundred times before. This time, however, stepping over a pile of toys caused her to slip and fall. “My heel happened to catch the toys and I did a split,” Pickering said. “Apparently, I can’t do those anymore.”

Clay County Detective Named NSA Deputy of the Year

Clay County Detective Matt Hanlin has been selected as the recipient of the National Sheriffs Association’s 2012 Charles “Bud” Meeks Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year. Detective Hanlin was nominated for the award for the acts of valor he displayed the night of February 16, 2012.

During the investigation of a suspected meth lab that erupted in gunfire, both Detective Hanlin and his partner, Detective David White, were hit by gunmen’s fire.

Sheriff’s Offices Honored at Missing Children’s Day

Supporters from all over the state gathered in Tallahassee on September 9, 2013, for Florida's Missing Children’s Day. The annual event was created to educate the public on child safety and abduction prevention, raise awareness of the state’s currently missing children and recognize the individuals and law enforcement officers who have made outstanding contributions in eradicating this issue.

Lend a Hand Received Major Contributions

The FDSA Lend a Hand program was created to provide assistance to deputies in times of need. This summer, the program received two major donations that will help ensure that we will be there when those sworn to protect us need it most.

First, the Walton County Sheriff's Office generously donated $5,000, for which we are very grateful. “Ultimately it is the responsibility of the Sheriffs in this state to provide assistance, support and loyalty to the men and women who wear the star," Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson said. "Protecting our own is what we are about. To support, protect and defend starts at home with the well-being of our folks.”

Franklin County is Latest FDSA Group Member

The FDSA would like to welcome its latest Sheriff’s Office Group member, Franklin County. Franklin County joins 26 other Sheriff's Offices in this membership option that provides membership for each employee at the basic member level and all benefits of full membership in the FDSA. It is a great benefit to employees, and we make it very easy by minimizing the paperwork required. Through the various options available, FDSA membership has grown to more than 5,000 members.


Distracted Driving is Real Danger for Florida Deputies

Our world is fast moving and never seems to slow down. We have become a nation of multi-taskers, constantly trying to perform more tasks in less time.

And this includes when we are driving.

Whether it is visual, manual or cognitive distraction, it is never safe when we are not concentrating on the road. Never before has the level of distraction in our society carried such heavy consequences. Unfortunately, there is a bad guy lurking in our midst who can be as fatal as any gunshot.

Why Support FDSA’s Lend A Hand Program?

Because Florida Deputies and their families need peace of mind, knowing that they’ll have support in difficult times. What a great feeling to know you provided support to the same men and women who put their lives on the line for you every day! So please consider giving to this worthy cause—whether it is a little or a lot, your contribution matters. If we all work together, it will make a massive difference to the men and women who ask nothing of us yet serve and protect with integrity and selfless commitment!

Deputy Spotlight: Walton County’s April Hantzis

Walton County Deputy April Hantzis never wanted to go into law enforcement. She just wanted to fly helicopters.

FDSA a Leader in Animal Safety Education

Great news from the Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association. On March 5-6, we hosted our first training seminar. This training was not only important because it was the FDSA’s first, but more so because of the topic. Deputy Sheriffs are the protectors in our communities. And one of the most important things we do is protect the ones who can’t protect themselves. So, for that reason we were excited to educate and increase awareness on animal cruelty cases.

Tragedies Often Reveal True Heroes

As deputies and those who work with or support their efforts, we are never truly surprised by acts of selfless heroism. The reality of having a job that requires us to run toward danger instead of away from it  serves as a constant reminder that those who serve in public safety are always just a moment away from the opportunity to demonstrate that selfless commitment to the greater good.


FDSA Joins FSA in Honoring Fallen Officers at Ceremony

The FDSA joined the Florida Sheriffs Association in honoring all 346 officers whose names are etched on the FSA Memorial Wall.  FDSA Executive Director AJ Smith joined Attorney General Pam Bondi, FSA Executive Director Steve Casey, FSA President Sheriff Susan Benton and many Sheriffs and deputies from across the state at the FSA Memorial Wall to pay tribute to the men and women who died while serving their communities.

Unprecedented Results in “Operation Dry Spring”

The Florida Sheriffs Task Force, in conjunction with the Florida Sheriffs Association, has concluded a five week operation aimed at protecting youth in Florida. Operation Dry Spring focused on preventing underage youth from purchasing and using alcohol, tobacco and various forms of synthetic and illegal drugs. The operation, conducted from March 4 through April 7, resulted in 5,016 arrests across 37 counties.

K9 Koda Loses Life in Line of Duty

On January 31, 2013, Leon County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Koda was killed while protecting his partner, Deputy Ron McMullen,and other deputies from an armed and violent fugitive. Koda was fearless and brave and, because he gave his all that night, those deputies are alive and well.

Keep Up With the FDSA

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FDSA Supports FSA Proclamation on Second Amendment

At its Winter Conference in January, the FSA made a bold proclamation in support of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The FDSA is in full agreement with this proclamation and supports the FSA on its support of our right to bear arms.

Remembering Florida’s First Black Deputy

In 1945, George Brown became the first black deputy in the state of Florida. Deputy Brown was initially encouraged by the late DeSoto County Sheriff Tom Anderson to become a deputy. At that time, Brown needed to be bonded in order to start working but no bonding company would back him. Sheriff Anderson researched ways to work around this and eventually found out Brown could become deputy if five black taxpayers signed the bond papers for him.

SRCO Is Latest FDSA Group Member

The FDSA would like to welcome its latest Sheriff’s Office Group member, Santa Rosa County. Santa Rosa County joins 24 other Sheriff's Offices in this membership option that provides membership for each employee at the basic member level and all benefits of full membership in the FDSA. It is a great benefit to employees, and we make it very easy by minimizing the paperwork required. Through the various options available, FDSA membership has grown to more than 5,000 members.

Lend-A-Hand Program Receives $2500 Donation

The FSA Board of Directors recently donated $2,500 to the FDSA Lend-A-Hand program. Their generous contribution supports this program’s efforts to help provide for deputies in need. We are also working to raise additional funds and are contacting Sheriffs individually to seek their support for this program that has made a difference in the lives of many deputies and their families.

Vincent Joins FDSA Staff

The Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association is proud to announce Kristina Vincent as our new Membership Services Specialist. A junior at Flagler College’s Tallahassee Campus studying accounting, Kristina was born in Tallahassee and graduated from Lawton Chiles High School. Kristina is married with a 4-year-old daughter.

FDSA Training Event March 5 and 6:  Animal Cruelty Seminar

The FDSA is co-sponsoring an Animal Cruelty Seminar on Tuesday, March 5, along with Alaqua Animal Refuge and the Tallahassee Animal Shelter Foundation. It will take place at the FSA's John E. Polk Training Center in Tallahassee.

Cpl. James Ris Honored as FSA Corrections Officer of the Year

Corporal James Ris of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office was recently honored as the 2013 Florida Sheriffs Association Corrections Officer of the Year for his exemplary service in the line of duty.

Deputy Sheriff is a 24-hour Responsibility

The world is changing. Without question, we work in a very dangerous profession. When we put on our uniform and walk out the door, we know it could be for the last time. Fortunately, most of us will return safely home at the end of our shift.

Casey Joins FDSA Staff

The Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association is proud to announce Lauren Casey as our new Membership Services Specialist. A recent graduate of St. Leo University with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, Lauren was born in Key West and has lived in Tallahassee for 13 years. Her focus is to assist members and provide an additional point of contact for any FDSA questions. Please feel free to give Lauren a call, and she will be more than happy to assist you.

Battle of the Badges Raises Funds for BCSO Employees

More than $30,000 was raised at the Battle of Badges fundraiser event on August 25 in support of longtime Brevard County Sheriff's Office employees Michael and Michele Hriciso. Michele has endured a constant medical battle since the spring of this year, and the BCSO family and community came together to help Michael and Michele in their time of need by raising money to go toward their mounting medical bills.

Hernando County Adds Over 500 FDSA Members

Hernando County is the latest to add FDSA membership as an employment benefit to its employees. Hernando joins 22 other counties in providing the FDSA basic membership package to all of its 536 deputies and employees across the board.

Miami-Dade Detective Oscar Plasencia Selected as 2012 Deputy of the Year

January 20, 2011, is a day that Oscar Plasencia will not soon forget. The day started out the same as any other with the Miami-Dade Career Criminal Unit, consisting of Plasencia and Detectives Amanda Haworth, Roger Castillo and Deidre Beecher, setting out to track down their latest target. Little did they know that two of them would not be coming home that night. And if not for the heroic efforts of Detective Plasencia that day, more life would certainly have been lost.

FDSA Lends a Hand to Franklin County Deputy in Need

Lieutenant Angela Odom has worked in corrections for the Franklin County Sheriff's Office for the last nine years.  Last year, she experienced tragedy when her home burned to the ground. Although no one was home, Deputy Odom still faced the arduous task of rebuilding her life from the ground up.  Fortunately, she did not face her huge challenge alone.

Let 9-11 be a Reminder to Protect Your Family’s Needs

The deadliest day in law enforcement history was September 11, 2001, when 72 law enforcement officers were killed responding to the attacks on America. It is a day we will never forget. God bless those brave men and women.


FDSA Membership Provides Peace of Mind

The Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association offers financial protection and peace of mind for the law enforcement, corrections and support personnel of Florida Sheriffs’ Offices. Membership in FDSA provides valuable services chosen to meet the specialized needs of the law enforcement community.

Protect Your Vision:  40% Member Discount on Maui Jim Sunglasses

In Florida, sunglasses are an essential part of the deputy’s uniform. And, just like your weapon or vest, your sunglasses should provide optimum protection, and it doesn’t hurt if they look good, too.

FDSA Membership is Well Worth Investment

Unlike Police Departments, the Office of Sheriff is not a department of government, it is an independent office held by an individual. That individual is elected by the people, no one person or group appoints them to that position, as in most police departments.

Deputies Honored at FSA Memorial Service

The 340 names etched into the marble wall of the Florida Sheriffs Memorial are a powerful and sobering reminder of the ultimate sacrifice paid by the Florida Sheriffs’ Offices, employees killed in the line of duty from 1844 through 2011.

We Can ‘Lend A Hand’ to Deputies in Need

Cozy in our homes, being safe and sound is not something most Floridians worry a lot about. But for the men and women of Florida’s Sheriffs’ Offices, thinking about your safety, security and welfare is their job 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

5K Raises Thousands for Family of Slain Deputy

More than $6,000 was raised at the David White Memorial 5K to assist the family of the slain Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy.

AJ Smith Chosen as FDSA Director of Operations

The Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association selects AJ Smith to oversee membership.

FDSA Elects Executive Board

The Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association Board selects executive officers for 2010-2011.

Legal Protection Plan

The FDSA Legal Protection Plan brochure is now available.

ID Theft A Popular Option For Enhanced Members

The optional ID Theft Protection proves a popular option for Enhanced Members.