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Collins' bandwagon jumps shameful

Re: Flaws at Sheriff's Office can no longer be ignored, Jan. 26 letter

Editor: Since ex-commissioner Ed Collins took office in 1991, he continues to suffer from serious memory loss. How pleasant it would be if I could forget having supported Collins in his first election campaign.

At that time, Collins, a close personal friend of ex-Sheriff Gillum, was a strong advocate of additional law enforcement funds. Addressing the needs of the Sheriff's Office was an important part of Collins' campaign platform and the reason I supported his candidacy. I remember being with Collins when he carried a picket sign at a public budget hearing requesting more funds for his sheriff. Two years later, when Sheriff Cannon was elected, Collins began talking out of the other side of his mouth, becoming an outspoken critic of additional funds for law enforcement. The needs of law enforcement are as real today as they were when Gillum was in office.

It would appear that Collins is determined to do anything and everything he can to have another "friend" as the Pasco County sheriff. I suspect this not only severely limits his field of candidates, but brings to mind that the last candidate he supported withdrew from the race after embarrassing revelations surfaced about his past and he moved from Pasco County.

Rumors have circulated that Collins wants to groom another candidate to run for sheriff this year. Let's hope he does a background check for hidden polygraph tests, unless he thinks having a friend as sheriff is more important than a candidate's integrity.

Unfortunately, Collins also makes inaccurate and untimely remarks regarding the recent tragic shooting at a Pasco County High School. The family and friends of both young people involved are still grieving this senseless loss.

It is shameful that Collins chooses to jump on the bandwagon with those who rush to judgment. To the detriment of this country, it has become all too common to place the blame for crimes and accidents on our schools, our government, or some other institution before all the facts are known and responsibility can be fairly determined. During the interim, it serves no one, especially the family and friends of the victims, to incite the situation with untruths, unsupported accusations or misguided innuendos.

Having spent many years in law enforcement, including several at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, I know firsthand of Sheriff Cannon's outstanding personal commitment to the youth of this county. That same commitment and dedication to professional law enforcement is an attribute of the school resource officers at the Sheriff's Office.

My prayers go to everyone connected to this incident, and especially to the families of those who were directly involved. Aside from the knowledge I have regarding this tragic event, I would encourage everyone to reserve their opinions until the investigation is completed and the State Attorney's Office has concluded its review.

Bill Kontyko

Director of community relations,

Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff's Office made

mistake; let's move on

Editor: I rarely voice my opinion about public affairs. However, I feel that I cannot just stand by without expressing my sentiment regarding the criticism that is being showered on the sheriff of our Pasco County.

It is a shame that the condemnation is politically motivated. Is it a crime to err? Is there anyone who has not made a mistake that has also emulated from other persons who are part of a team? The revealing of making some mistakes should not shake the public's faith in the current management of the Sheriff's Office.

I believe that we have a very honest and sincere man who has seriously taken the responsibility of the office of sheriff of Pasco County. I hope and pray that his broad shoulders can withstand the scathing that is patterned by what appears to be a campaign to smear his name. I commend you for allowing citizens to voice their opinions on various subjects. I hope that the newspaper you represent will refrain from allowing politics to enter into swaying the public to intentionally mistrust public servants who are doing a good and honest job for our county even though some mistakes may have taken place.

Joseph E. Schoener

Port Richey

Let's not forget Cannon

as hard-working leader

Editor: Let's think a moment. Lee Cannon doesn't run around on his wife or cheat on his taxes. He fully supports the community. He works 12 hours a day and is available the other 12. Oh, and he's also human. He is allowed to make an error, and thank God he's the kind of man who will admit a mistake and begin working on the solution.

The Sheriff's Department has maintained an open-book policy: anyone may go in and review records. Even those like Ed Collins, with his hidden agenda. Sheriff Cannon could always imitate Collins and avoid answering questions and hope that the issue will just disappear. Fortunately, Sheriff Cannon is an honest and forthright man. I find it appalling that Collins would presume to judge an area he knows nothing about, and lacks the skills to comprehend.

In regard to the comment to the student at Ridgewood, as a parent and a teacher, I applaud Sheriff Cannon's remark. Kids need to learn responsibility for themselves and their society. Does Collins think the young lady in question was right to keep information about the gun to herself and then blame others because she didn't care enough about her friend to come forward?

Collins needs to get a life (preferably far from Pasco County). Perhaps he could qualify for a position on a deep sea fishing boat out of Alaska.

Kimberly T. Robertson

New Port Richey