Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco sheriff's captain's legacy: saving children

Brian Moyer isn't much on pomp. So when he stood before county commissioners the other day and listened to them gush about his career, he was a bit uncomfortable.

He's a modest man and figured to turn in his gear and just walk away after three decades with the Pasco Sheriff's Office. But once the word got around, it was clear his many admirers would not let that happen.

Moyer is leaving as a captain in charge of the deputies who patrol the west side. He's had so many big jobs, including five years supervising detectives working major crimes. But what makes him special, and what made the commissioners present a formal resolution in his honor, is his work with children.

He won't say it but everyone else will: Brian Moyer saved young lives. He pioneered a program to make Pasco's high schools and middle schools safer. He built trust between cops and teenagers while concentrating on crime prevention, not necessarily enforcement. He helped establish and then ensured the success of the miniature village called "Safety Town," where more than 100,000 kids have learned everything from fire protection to rules of the road.

Moyer worked for four sheriffs, and the most recent, Chris Nocco, spoke for the rest when he summed up his captain with one word — professional.

Moyer's attachment to the Sheriff's Office began long before he even thought about becoming a deputy. His parents moved to New Port Richey from Indiana when he was 6 years old and struggled to raise three children on minimal salaries. His mother managed a convenience store. His father worked as a custodian at the Sheriff's Office.

As a senior at Gulf High School in 1979, Brian joined the Explorers, a program then-Sheriff John Short created to generate interest among teens in law enforcement. After graduation, his family moved back to Indiana. Brian returned to New Port Richey and lived with his grandmother while attending St. Petersburg Junior College and selling clothes at a men's wear shop called O'Henry's.

He retained an interest in law enforcement and in 1983 Tom Berlinger, a high-ranking administrator at the Sheriff's Office, convinced Short to sponsor him to the police academy.

"Berlinger knew my dad," Moyer recalled.

Moyer joined the department in 1984, the first deputy hired by the new sheriff, Jim Gillum. He worked as a west side patrol deputy for two years before Gillum created a program that would place officers in high schools. Moyer was assigned to Ridgewood High as the first SRO, or school resource officer. As the program expanded to include other high schools, Moyer was promoted to sergeant. His leadership and emphasis on helping at-risk kids earned his unit the top award presented in 1989 and 1990 by the Florida Association of School Resource Officers.

In 1991, Moyer wrote a memo he still keeps in his files. It envisioned a place where school children could take field trips to learn basic safety lessons. Safety Town opened in 1995 and Moyer went on to serve as president of its board of directors.

He spent five years as a lieutenant of school safety, a joint position with the Sheriff's Office and School District. He oversaw the development of the school crossing guard program, which in 2002 was recognized as best in Florida by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.

Moyer is an elder in the Cornerstone Community Church in New Port Richey. He said his faith has helped him deal with the many heartaches deputies encounter. It was his religion, in fact, that led to him to his wife, Sandy, 27 years ago.

"We both sang in the choir," he said.

They raised three children together. The oldest, Steven, came to town last week as deputies gathered to honor Moyer at a luncheon. He is a special agent for the FBI in Raleigh and previously served as an air marshal and Atlanta police officer.

At 53, Moyer retains a youthful appearance and expects to begin a second career at some point. He enjoys teaching at Rasmussen College. He has no interest in running for sheriff. "I'm not a glad-hander," he said. "I'd be a lousy politician."

For now, he said, "I just want a stress-free holiday for a change. Then I'll go wherever God leads me."

Comments
Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

The original Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in 2012 was inspired by how the Florida black bear roamed — and the space it needed to do so successfully. In 2010, expedition team member Joe Guthrie conducted research through the University of Kent...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A man wearing nothing but a coat stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee before dawn Sunday and shot four people to death, according to police, who credited a customer with saving lives by wresting a weapon away from t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

Class 9A-8 (higher seed hosts)Tuesday: No. 3 Alonso at No. 2 Palm Harbor University, 4; No. 4 Sarasota Riverview at No. 1 Newsome, 7Thursday: Final, 4 or 7 (depending on who hosts)Class 8A-4 at Strawberry Crest Tuesday: No. 1 Wharton vs. No. 4 Wiregr...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Teen killed in crash remembered as

Teen killed in crash remembered as "always smiling and laughing"

WEEKI WACHEE — Seth Leathers was on his way to play basketball at his church when he was killed Wednesday in a car crash on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill, according to family friend Laurie Pike.Leathers, 16, was the passenger in a car driven by his friend G...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Baseball: Bulls edge Knights to even series

Baseball: Bulls edge Knights to even series

After a two-hour weather delay Saturday evening at USF, the remote local threat of lightning finally dissipated.The postseason intensity never did.For the second consecutive night, the UCF-USF baseball series delivered, this time with the Bulls (25-1...
Published: 04/22/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Closers.That's what the Lightning looked like as it closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games with a 3-1 win Saturday.Nikita Kucherov's star power blazed again, the defense controlled the game and not even Jersey goaltend...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Athletics’ Sean Manaea no-hits Red Sox

Athletics’ Sean Manaea no-hits Red Sox

OAKLAND, Calif. – Sean Manaea watched as Marcus Semien fired a ball from short to second baseman Jed Lowrie, turned around, and jumped into the arms of catcher Jonathan Lucroy. History was made at the Coliseum.Manaea no-hit the Red Sox on ...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18