Putting My Experience
I am very happy and excited to seek another term in office as the sheriff of Franklin County. We have accomplished a lot during this first term and have more to do for our citizens. I look forward to continuing our success in making our county one of the best and safest places to live in Florida. During my first term, I had a list of priorities and am proud to say that under my leadership and the tremendous efforts of the dedicated men and women who serve the community at the Franklin County Sheriff’s office, we have surpassed expectations. I am extremely proud of:
*Elected as President of the Florida Deputy Sheriff’s Association
*Serving on The Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council
*Endorsed member of the NRA
*Member National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
*Florida Sheriff’s Association’s most prestigious honor, 2018 Deputy of Year was awarded to 2 of our deputies
*We Don’t Meth Around” drug campaign
*Fresh Start program for our inmates
*DARE program is back in our schools
The Sheriff’s Department has seen many behind the scene upgrades which has helped improve the quality of life and services for our staff and the community including:
*Modernized the phone system
*Medical Mobile Cart
*New CAD System
*Extensive upgrades to the Sheriff’s Office & Communication Center
*Security upgrades at the Detention Center
*Purchased new vehicles, Body-worn cameras, Vehicle Locator System
I made drug use a top priority when I ran for Sheriff and our office has made hundreds of arrests since taking over. While proud of our achievements, it is my dream of making the Bay City Wellness Center a reality that inspires me. Our community has suffered at the hands of the Meth epidemic that affects so many communities across the nation. Franklin County desperately needs a rehabilitation facility to get those who want to turn their lives around, a place to get the treatment they need. I have promoted my position clearly since becoming Sheriff, If you break the law, we will arrest you. But if you need help, we have the resources to help you. I have worked tirelessly together with State officials, lobbyists and my supporters to raise awareness and secure the funds needed to make this facility a reality. I am very happy to say that we have taken some big steps forward during the Legislative Session this year and things are looking very promising.
I like to say that only 10% of my job is law enforcement and 90% is community outreach. Since taking office, our office has sponsored a luncheon for the junior and senior classes of the local high school as well as the 8thgraders of the Apalachicola Charter School. I initiated a coat and shoe drive in collaboration with school administration to serve those in need. Over the past year, the first annual Jingle at the Jail for Christmas, a Pumpkin Patch for kids for Halloween and a Citizens Academy was added to the list of our hosted events.
Inmates in our detention facility have responded positively to the efforts we have made in bringing in more materials and training to help them better prepare for life outside. Books and materials on agriculture and horticulture and courses and counciling AA, Literacy, Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse counseling, ministry, substance abuse, yoga, anger management, women’s health and nutrition classes, obtaining a driver’s license, GED and college courses.
My leadership has been put to the test since taking office in 2017. On June 24, 2018, A devastating forest fire in Eastpoint, raged out of control burning over 900 acres of land, claiming 36 homes in the neighborhoods of Ridge and Wilderness Roads, as well as Buck Street. Together with other emergency organizations, we mobilized joint efforts as well as initiated a Go Fund Me campaign which raised over $372,000 in donations which we used to buy 6 trailers as well as other much need supplies. As donations began flowing in from all over, the Sheriffs office shifted from law enforcement into humanitarian relief as we worked to find temporary homes for displaced citizens. Only 4 months later, category 5 Hurricane Michael ravished the panhandle and our fundraising and relief efforts once again kicked in, allowing us to help those who needed it most.
I have and will continue to make a difference every day, and I am asking for your support to continue my objectives for Franklin County.
Thanks for your support
Sheriff "AJ" Smith