By Chris Ingram
Special correspondent, the Tampa Tribune
Published June 27, 2011
On a recent Friday night I was a guest of Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee as he patrolled Plant City and surrounding areas of Hillsborough County. The sheriff told me he tries to keep active with “real law enforcement” at least twice a week by participating in such patrols.
On the back roads heading toward Johnson’s BBQ in Plant City for a bite to eat, we passed a bar called Kelly’s Hideaway. The sheriff mentioned the place used to be very popular with the locals — and that on the weekends it kept deputies busy.
“Old-timers used to joke that if you came into Kelly’s without a gun or a knife they’d issue you one at the door,” Gee said.
Real-world police work
As counties go, Hillsborough is a vast geographic place with diverse neighborhoods of people — yet most of us fail miserably at getting beyond the shadows of our own friends, neighborhoods and other comfort zones, much less visiting places like Kelly’s Hideaway, or even knowing they exist.
Law enforcement officers, on the other hand, see those realities of the “real world” every day.
“We’ve got the best crop of deputies we’ve ever had,” Gee told me with his trademark low-key demeanor.
New recruits of the department are sent to two weeks of military-style boot camp. If they make it through, they get a conditional offer of employment and are sent to the police academy.
“It’s not just about doing push-ups and the physical conditioning; it’s about building camaraderie,” he says.
That solidarity is important in the difficult situations deputies face on the job.
But shootouts are rare, and the sheriff noted that exposure to AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis and other blood-borne pathogens are a bigger concern to most deputies than getting shot. Click here to read the full column in today’s Tampa Tribune.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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