Saturday, January 20, 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
More than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued in Florida Panhandle

More than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued in Florida Panhandle

Florida’s dip into frigid temperatures did more than just stun humans unused to such cold air. This month scientists and volunteers have rescued more than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles from a single bay in the Florida Panhandle.The U.S. Geological S...
Published: 01/20/18
U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

WASHINGTON — The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunctio...
Updated: 10 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 19

Friday’s scoreboardBoys soccerIndian Rocks Christian 2, Lakewood 1Lennard 3, Spoto 0Girls soccerPCAC Championship: Largo 3, Osceola 1Lennard 8, Spoto 0
Updated: 12 hours ago

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA — It took officers just 27 minutes Friday night to capture four people who they said stole a car from its owner.The incident started outside the Ybor Coffee Shop at 5:45 a.m. A group approached the driver as he sat in his 2010 Toyota Corolla. T...
Published: 01/19/18
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

The state has opened an investigation into CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, days after the Tampa Bay Times asked about whether the two regional job centers were inflating the number of people they had helped get hired. The agencies, ...
Published: 01/19/18

Florida National Guard soldier killed, five injured in Sebring crash

SEBRING — A soldier with the Florida National Guard was killed and five others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, officials said.The crash took place at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Hammock Road.The soldiers ...
Published: 01/19/18
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cellphones and cellphone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wednes...
Published: 01/19/18
U.S. Attorney: Tampa woman uses soul food restaurant as part of scheme to steals thousands

U.S. Attorney: Tampa woman uses soul food restaurant as part of scheme to steals thousands

TAMPA — The owner of a soul and seafood restaurant is facing more than 10 years in federal prison for filing dozens of false tax returns and stealing thousands of dollars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.Natalie Rene Panko, 57, owner of Ladie...
Published: 01/19/18
That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

TAMPA — If you hear loud noises coming from MacDill Air Force Base over the next few days, don’t be alarmed.It’s the sound of flying hogs.A squadron of A-10C Warthogs, beloved by troops in the field for their ability to swoop low and slow and tear ap...
Published: 01/19/18
Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

When former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in November, he had amphetamines, morphine and the sleep aid zolpidem in his system, according to an autopsy report. Halladay, 40, died from blunt force trauma with drownin...
Published: 01/19/18