The top two ranking deputies at the sheriff's District III command station in Citrus Park announced this week they will both retire by summer.
Maj. Robert Deluna will leave on July 1 and Capt. Roger Dixon will leave on April 30. Both have decided to retire one year before they would have been required to quit working under a deferred retirement program called DROP.
"I believe 30 years is long enough," Deluna said.
Under the deferred retirement option program, government employees who are at least 55, or have 25 years of service, can have their retirement check deposited into an account that earns 6 percent interest for up to five years while they continue to work and earn regular pay.
At the end of the five years, the employee receives the money in that fund and begins receiving retirement checks. Employees in the DROP program are not required to stay the full five years. Dixon and Deluna are leaving after only four years.
The two ranking officers are among dozens of sheriff's deputies who are leaving the DROP program, creating a staffing dilemma for the Sheriff's Office.
"Certainly it will be a loss of a lot of experience. We're losing two good guys," said Chief Deputy David Gee.
Gee said replacements for Deluna and Dixon will be named before they leave, although Sheriff Cal Henderson has not decided who will replace them.
"I know he will give it a lot of thought," Gee said. "When it gets to the rank of captain and major, the sheriff makes that decision on his own because those are the ranks he has a lot of personal involvement with.
"The people in (the Carrollwood) area should be reassured the sheriff will pick someone outstanding who will fill those shoes out there and build on what we've started."
_ To reach Tim Grant call 269-5311, or at grantsptimes.com.