The No. 1 issue Pasco County faces right now, crime-wise, is drugs.
That's according to Sheriff Chris Nocco.
“Drugs are fueling all the crime,” he said. "If you really look at all the people that are committing crime in our county, a vast majority are doing it because of their addiction.”
And, in addition to the targeted efforts of narcotics detectives and Intelligence Led Policing, the first line of defense in handling the issue as a county is education, Nocco said.
That’s why community outreach is so important to Nocco and his staff, he said. Educating the public, especially youth, and partnering with faith-based organizations are vital elements of the department’s efforts to combat the problem.
“We’re trying to do as much as we can, prevention-wise,” Nocco said.
The way you destroy networks is to build networks, he said.
Youth drug and crime prevention programs such as Seven, which the sheriff’s office implemented with Calvary Chapel Worship Center this year, and Celebrate Recovery, a program designed to support those with drug addictions, are part of that network building process.
“The sheriff’s office can’t do it alone,” Nocco said.
Pasco County is growing, Nocco said. And to grow successfully, it must be a safe place to live and do business.
Nocco plans to continue strengthening ties to the community by working with businesses, churches and other organizations, if voters decide to keep him in office. He wants to find more avenues to reach as many people as possible, he said.
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
The sheriff also has plans to tighten things up a bit. Part of what he’s done in the past year and a half was to increase organizational functionality. And he’s not quite done with that. New systems are scheduled for implementation that will further reduce redundancy in the department, as well as bolster communication among staff.
Since his appointment to the post a year and a half ago, Nocco said the sheriff’s office has continuously moved forward.
“We’re progressive,” Nocco said. “We won’t stand for the status quo.”
The community has taken note, he said.
"The biggest thing people can see is the unity in the department."
And if voters like what they’ve seen so far, “they’re going to be ecstatic with what they see in the future,” he said.
The results thus far are just the tip of the iceberg, Nocco said.
He’s proud of how far they have come in a short time, he said. And if he had to point to one accomplishment he is most proud of, it would be the climate in the agency.
“The members of this agency are happy and they’re excited about what’s going on,” Nocco said.
Nocco faces democratic candidate Kim Bogart in the Nov. 6 election.
Want to know more about Nocco? Check out this story:
Leap of Faith Shows Signs of Success for Pasco Inmates
Synthetic Marijuana has Pasco Sheriff’s Attention
Raids Shut Down Multiple Synthetic Drug Manufacturers
Sheriff Candidate is 'About Accountability'