News-Sun photo by CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY Sheriff Susan Benton speaks to the audience Saturday morning at the AP Community Center. She outlined the advantages of bringing in her agency to replace the city's police department.
published: Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Benton: AP will be a smooth transition
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
AVON PARK -- While the city council voted unanimously Saturday to approve a four-year law enforcement services contract with Sheriff Susan Benton, residents will not see any immediate changes.
City Manager Julian Deleon explained to the News-Sun that there is a Police Benevolent Association collective bargaining contract, which requires a 90-day wait period.
He added that even if the city and PBA resolved issues quickly, the transition from blue to green would take time. How much time it will take is unknown at the moment.
"It is a multi-party decision," Deleon said, "although my preference is to start on Oct. 1, 2012, which is the start of the new budget year."
Benton, too, hopes to have the transition in place by Oct. 1, but told the News-Sun Tuesday there were many things that had to be done.
"It will be an incremental transition." she said.
The 90-day waiting time per PBA contract requirement is to make sure all laid off officers get a new job. That is by Nov. 1.
The sooner all the AP officers are placed, the sooner the transition will be, Benton said.
That means the HCSO is expediting the hiring process -- although there are state-mandated requirements that take time. For example, the officer must go through another background check and retake a battery of tests.
Once hired, the new deputy goes out for a period of field training before being given an assignment.
While the deputy's Avon Park gear will follow him or her, new uniforms have to be bought, and all kinds of paperwork done -- like changes in health insurance.
Benton has received 15 or 16 applications already, and those are in process. The first batch of new deputies may be ready in three weeks.
In the meantime, the SO has already taken over day-to-day oversight of the city.
"There is no doubt in my mind we can do this," Benton has said. "We have the infrastructure and can absorb this without a blip on the radar.
"We're excited and looking forward to a smooth transition," she added.
ray napper of sun n lake (by: NapperHatter - 8/10/2012)
Your simply OK with long respoce time and in-personal service. Due to the fact you may have never seen or felt it. We who choose to move into a city do so just for thet reason. I gives us the safety we want for our children and eldery ones. I could buy a Yougo but I drive a Frord for the features and saftey. I could buy any cheap matteress but we buy Simmons. We care about comfort and saftey. The SO will work us like 2nd rate citizens when we had the best that could be. Now we will have lower taxes and it will be easy for more lower class folks to move in and then incumbits will be voted out. Then we will rebuild. Free from personal gain and profit of the greedy. The few made a bad move here and it will be exposed for all to see. The many still have the power and will use it at the first opportunity. Its never about the wealth that's here its about the lower to middle class that want a place that's the best that it can be NOT the status quoe.
Brother in Blue (by: Ray Napper - 8/9/2012)
please stop spreading fairy tales, well no let's call it what it is when you don't know something and act like you do by placing a non-name up there to HIDE behind. You are a rumor monger or more close, a liar. When they talk about bad apples going to the SO I bet they didn't want anything to do with you. And yes AP went to her. Does she have a plan in case they all do they, I would certainly hope so. She'd be a pretty poor sheriff if she didn't have a back up plan. Brother in Blue, what a joke...sign your name "Brother" or are you afraid of something?
Deleon, the Mind Bender (by: up all night - 8/9/2012)
HCSO (by: Jeff - 8/8/2012)
The SO won't take over all of them, at least not without a fight from both Sebring and LP's chiefs. Although the majority vote on Saturday was for the SO to take over APPD, I feel as if Deleon is greedily laughing behind closed doors; it was his plan all along.
Benton (by: Peterson - 8/8/2012)
She is probably the most powefull Sheriff to have walked Highalnds County. She has accreditted her agency, and is simply not beatable in any election.
(by: Fred - 8/8/2012)
Bad cops, good cops.... (by: County resident - 8/8/2012)
And who told Benton we the county citizens want some of AP bad apples to be sheriff deputies? Screen them first and hire only the good ones.
sheriff vs police (by: just saying - 8/8/2012)
Deleon said "it requires a 90 day wait period" per the union contract. Then the article said" In the meantime, the SO has already taken over day-to-day oversight of the city". I heard officers are already starting training with the sheriff. There are not waiting. They already started.
HCSO Take over (by: Brother in Blue - 8/8/2012)
How long before HCSO takes over the entire county? What is the drive behind her taking all the PD's?
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