September 2021 | Issue 9
Under Florida State Statute 316.126, vehicles must yield the right-of-way to approaching emergency vehicles. If you violate this, you may be fined and given a ticket!
This month, I would like everyone to focus on driving safely. This includes Florida's 'Move Over' law, how to respond when emergency vehicles are approaching you on a roadway, and staying off of your phone, among other topics. Think that's a lot to remember? Then remember this...Just Drive, Citrus!

Last year, Citrus County suffered 12,359 traffic crashes according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). While we work tirelessly to enforce the many traffic laws of our state, we still need your help with our efforts to keep motorists safe. First, start by taking responsibility for yourself, your vehicle, and the safety of everyone on the road by being alert and by driving defensively. Our goal of making Citrus County the safest community in Florida begins with our community members.
Florida's 'Move Over' law requires that all vehicles must either move over a lane away from emergency vehicles or reduce their speed to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit. Additionally, if you see an emergency vehicle with its lights and sirens traveling towards you, please move out of the way and as far off to the nearest side of the road as possible. Once you pull over, you must remain in said position until the emergency vehicle has passed you. Never attempt to "outrun" an emergency vehicle! These professionals are attempting to render air and by hindering them in any way, you will face consequences. Allow emergency vehicles to do their job, by doing yours and pulling over!

By taking simple steps, such as using your turn signal prior to moving over and ignoring those who are showing signs of road rage, you are doing your part in helping us keep each other safe. Always be cautious around school and construction zones, and be aware of the posted speed limit. Ensure you are cognizant of pedestrians, bicyclists, and crosswalks. Be alert and drive actively, don't allow your mind to wander or something like changing the radio station to take your focus off of the road.

Let's not forget, while we remain in hurricane season, be sure to watch for road debris or even stagnant water. If you would like to report any roadway hazards, please pull over or wait until you're home and give our non-emergency line a call at 352-249-2790.
9/11 Memorial Freedom Walk
This year, September 11th marked 20 years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

On the morning of September 11th, 2021, citizens of Citrus County joined together in remembrance of the lives lost that day. Shortly after 8:00 a.m., a large group of first responders and citizens walked from Wallace Brooks park to the 9/11 memorial in Liberty Park, with one of CCSO's very own patrol unit leading the way.

At the memorial, Mayor Bob Plaisted led the gathering in prayer before giving a speech in honor of the events of that fateful day. Sheriff Mike Prendergast delivered a speech shortly after and spoke about the bravery of the first responders that gave the ultimate sacrifice to save as many lives as possible. At the end of the event, an exhibit of items from Ground Zero was put on display at the Valerie Theater for citizens to pay homage to those precious lives lost.

Online Safety:
Are you savvy with surfing the web?
As the holiday season quickly approaches, be on the lookout for scammers!
Read on for helpful safety advice!

Online safety is something that should be on everyone’s mind. There are countless people on the internet looking to get rich at other people’s expense. Scammers will use several tricks to try and get personal information out of unsuspecting victims—things like phishing emails and ransomware. Taking an active approach to your online safety would go a long way in ensuring your private information stays private. Passphrases are more difficult for hackers to decipher than passwords and you should never tell anyone your login credentials. If you're being told that you've won sweepstakes, a contest, or some sort of prize that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Government entities will not call you to tell you that you have a warrant, nor will they ask you for your personal information! Be on your guard when it comes to crooks like these.

If you think you may have fallen victim to a scam or would like to report a scam, please refer to our Seniors Vs. Crime program. This program was designed for our citizens to report and possibly even recover funds from scams that they have fallen victim to. If you feel that you have been a victim of a scam, please gather all your documentation (receipts, checks, contracts, etc.) and bring them to our office so we can review your case.

The Seniors Vs. Crime office is located at 4093 N. Lecanto Hwy, Beverly Hills, FL 34465 and is open from 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays. You may also reach their office by calling 352-249-9139. We look forward to helping you!
ARTICLE OF THE MONTH: Have you heard of our Hometown Heroes?

Check out Citrus County's very own Hometown Heroes....

We are humbled to say that we have had numerous Citrus County Sheriff's Office employees invited to the 4th annual Hometown Heroes Awards ceremony.

The Hometown Heroes Award recognizes those who not only serve but exude leadership qualities amongst their peers and perform above and beyond their duties.
From Left to Right pictured above are Deputy Rudy Danner, Sheriff Mike Prendergast, Detective Tiffany Barry, Deputy Donald Hunter, and Communications Officer Kyle Roberts.
This year, Detective Tiffany Barry, Deputy Donald Hunter, Deputy Rudy Danner, and Communications Officer Kyle Roberts were recognized as our award nominees.

We would like to thank Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Marion County for recognizing these members of the Citrus County Sheriff's Office as Hometown Heroes.

“We are very proud of this year’s Hometown Heroes Award nominees,” said Sheriff Prendergast. “Being nominated for this award speaks volumes of their good character and our mission of service above self. Thank you for the outstanding dedication you have shown to the citizens of Citrus County.”

Detective Barry helped solve a sex crime involving the burglary of a juvenile’s bedroom. Deputy Donald Hunter safely ceased the threat of a subject jumping in and out of traffic and threatening citizens with a knife. Deputy Danner and his K-9 partner Riggs located 327 doses of LSD, 577 doses of THC edibles and THC oil, and over $15,000 in cash during the month of January 2021 alone. Additionally, Communications Officer Roberts received a call regarding a patient who had difficulty breathing, and due to his guidance and CPR instructions, was able to have the caller perform perfect compressions until EMS arrived.

Thank you to all of our wonderful award nominees for your dedicated service to the residents and visitors of Citrus County. Through your efforts, we continue to make Citrus County the safest community in Florida!
CCSO is currently looking for good-hearted people who wish to fill one of our many volunteer positions. Join others who already, selflessly donate their time to help us and their community!

Our volunteers bring their life experiences and personal talents to help support our mission in making Citrus County the safest community in Florida.

Hours for volunteers are flexible, Monday-Friday,
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Applicants must complete a Volunteer Application and pass a background check.

If you’re interested, visit our website at or call us at 352-746-3484 for more info.

Thank you to our community partners over at Howard's Flea Market in Homosassa for hosting a fundraiser to help with CCSO's Fallen Law Enforcement Memorial.

The money raised from this fundraiser will help complete our Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Memorial, which recognizes and honors Citrus County's fallen heroes.

Rain or shine, join us out at Howard's Flea Market on October 2nd starting at 10 a.m. for a silent basket auction, poker run, racecar show, food, beverages, and much more! Their address is 6373 S. Suncoast Blvd in Homosassa, FL 34446.

You can also call them to see how you can support CCSO and the fundraiser at 352-628-FLEA (3532). We appreciate your support!

Help us honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice!
August 2021
Anthony Amato
Jakob Fischer

In the dark, thieves sneak.
Pulling door handles,
they creep.
Purses, phones, even change,
if it once was yours,
it's theirs and in range.
Doors open!
Not locked,
this is what we've been hopin'.

Driving along at 3 o'clock.
The distance we close,
to a chop shop.
Sticker of bright yellow.
Seen by the deputy who pulls us over,
"you're under arrest, unauthorized fellow!"
Answer to last month's riddle: A K-9