Martin County sheriff outlines 2016 priorities

Posted at 8:13 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 22:36:48-05

From Miami area policeman to Martin County Sheriff, William Snyder has put a lot of mileage on the odometer in a 40-plus year career. 

WPTV anchor Michael Williams rode the beat with him one night for his perspective on 2016.

Sheriff Snyder said, "We think a winning formula for us is to continue to be engaged in the community -- whether it is schools, school resources, community policing."

There is good news to report. Snyder said, "In 2015 we had no homicides. Zero homicides." 

He doesn't stare into that proverbial rear view mirror for long though. New challenges await.

Snyder notes a slight uptick in overall crime -- aggravated assaults and property crimes -- is being driven by a persistent threat.

He said, "My narcotics unit makes between 30-40 arrests a month by itself. Overall, on any given day, most of our concerns deal with substance abuse problems, and alcohol is another big one."

Looking around the next curve comes with the job. The Jensen Beach Causeway is a case in point.

"For too long," Snyder said. "We had a real problem with drinking, alcohol abuse, drunk and disorderly calls. We had a homeless population that had really taken over our causeway."

Snyder said community policing -- a focus for his deputies -- has the problem in hand now.

He added, "We have restored it so families can come here now, enjoy the beach and causeway. The worst thing would be to walk away from it."

Not every battle is waged on the streets. Sheriff Snyder vowed to fight in 2016 for raises -- roughly 5 percent -- for deputies.

They got no raise last year and the message to residents and county commissioners will be direct.

Snyder said, "Their property values, the safety of their schools and property, the stability of the community is dependent on public safety."

There is one more message this year. Call it the enlistment pitch from a sheriff proud of his 227 deputies, but mindful too that crime fighting is everyone's job.

Snyder concluded, "I can't patrol every square inch of this county. But look out there. If they (residents) call us and be our eyes and ears, together we can actually make a difference."