published: Sunday, November 04, 2012
Garcia focused on communication
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Candido "Candy" Garcia is running for sheriff. He has lived in Highlands County for 27 years.
Garcia was born in New York City. He said that over the course of his career he served with the Secret Service as a regular motorcycle escort for Vice-President George H. W. Bush, as a policeman in Puerto Rico, a deputy sheriff here, and an investigator of the public defender's office. Garcia also served on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity, as a member of the Homeless Coalition of Highlands County, and a Guardian ad Litem.
He is currently the senior pastor at the Inglesia Cristo Te Ama (Christ Loves You Church) and a member of the Ministerial Associations of Avon Park, Sebring and Lake Placid.
Garcia is devout in his faith. The only reason he is running, he said, is because God made it known to him that he had mission.
"That's my passion, to work with the people of the county," he said. "The relationship between law enforcement and the people has fallen apart. I want to bring back that relationship.
"I'll have an open-door policy for everybody. Call, and if I'm there, you walk in. People want to talk to the sheriff. I want to hear people. They are our ears, eyes and mouth."
He will have all deputies introduce themselves and hand out their cards to the people they serve in their assigned sectors. "Of course, they are the law," he added, "and we'll do (our work) by the law. But, we are not above the law. Deputies are paid by the people. Some don't understand that."
He has concerns, however, about morale in the sheriff's office. "I'm going to have to bring it up again." He said he has no intention of firing officers should he be elected. "If they could work with Sheriff Benton, they can work with me."
Garcia has two main issues of particular concern to him.
One is doing even more with children in the schools; the other is doing more for inmates in the jail. "You have to help people in jail," he said, "so they don't come back. Right now it's a revolving door."
He would ask members of the community and local agencies to partner with the county to bring more services to the children -- Garcia is a big advocate of the Police Athletic League (PAL) -- and help former inmates get jobs and turn their lives around. "The lower the crime rate," Garcia said, "the more people will want to move into the county."
Garcia thinks Benton made a mistake doing away with motorcycle officers. "They're faster following a car," he said. He worries about the recent spate of bank robberies. "There have been three in a month and a half," he said. "I would meet with every bank and go over their (security systems)."
In terms of specifics, like budget issues and the organization of the sheriff's office, Garcia said, "I'm not inside; I can't tell you. Once I'm there I'll form my structure and policies. They will be built on trust, building relationships, and an open door policy."
iwEKWKPcnoxPIYquVAe (by: Ah yes, nicely put, eyvernoe. - 11/11/2012)
Ah yes, nicely put, eyvernoe.
INMATES (by: Sick of handouts - 11/6/2012)
Inmates are where they are because they BROKE the LAW! Why do more for them? They already get free food, meds, health and dental, a/c in summer, heat in winter, TV, computers, library, clothing,etc. ALL at our expense. NOW, tell me, Mr Candi, what do you do for Seniors who cannot afford much of the above? Put the prisioners to work, cleaning highway litter, or any other jobs that need done. Do you not believe "IF you don't work, you don't eat?"
Big plans (by: Blindman - 11/6/2012)
Big plans need big money and we can't afford that right now.
Dont think so (by: Blindman - 11/6/2012)
You cant do more than Benton is doing now with the current budget. Btw... bikes are way more dangerous chasing criminals than using patrol cars, hands down. They may look good on the street and work for traffic control but riders are extremely vulnerable.
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