In an effort to help you make informed decisions during the General Election, ABC Action News has reached out to dozens of candidates running for office. The following statements have been submitted to ABC Action News by the candidate. Every candidate was given the same set of questions. These are their responses in his/her own words.
Name: Ron McMullen
Office: Hillsborough County Sheriff
I am a thirty-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department. Over my career, I served in multiple roles in upper leadership, culminating with the rank of Major and Commander of the department’s Special Operations Division. As a Training Officer, Detective in the Narcotics Bureau, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and, ultimately, Major, I was a leader in the field. As a SWAT Team member, I served as the team’s “Breacher”, always the first through the door when dangerous situations arose.
I’m proud that I was highly respected by my subordinates and peers alike, a reputation for being plain-spoken and transparent guided my ascent through the department. Currently, I am the President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 27, where I have been a Board Member for over 15 years.
I began my college career at Brown University, and hold a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree from St. Leo University and a Master of Science in Criminology degree from Florida State University. I have combined traditional education with extensive in-the-field training to secure a comprehensive view of criminal justice and allow me to be knowledgeable in policy, strategy and tactics.
Why should voters vote for you?
I hope that Hillsborough County voters allow me to earn their support. I will do so by being honest, transparent, and accessible. I am the most qualified candidate in this race, commanded respect throughout my lengthy law enforcement career and have leadership qualities lacking in my opponents.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
My highest priorities are to return pride and integrity to the Deputies, Command Staff and civilian employees of the Sheriff’s Office. Also, I wish to restore trust between the Sheriff’s Office and the community.
What are three key messages of your campaign?
- We must promote community partnerships to regain the respect and cooperation of those that need us most.
- Deputy investment is tragically low and has affected the safety of our county. I will increase investment in new Deputies, training and equipment to maximize relationships and results.
- I will advocate for common-sense criminal and juvenile justice reforms as well as increasing resources to stabilize drug and mental health issues.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Most importantly, I am personally passionate about fairly and equally enforcing the law and protecting the constitutional rights of every resident of Hillsborough County.
As it relates to the role you are seeking, how has that governmental body handled the Covid-19 pandemic? What would you do differently/the same in handling both the public health risk and the economic recovery?
The Sheriff’s office has mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic at every turn. They released 164 inmates without checking their criminal histories and without testing them for COVID-19. This resulted in numerous crimes and one tragic murder. I would have ensured that all released inmates were tested, and that. they were legitimately non-violent offenders. Also, there are reports that civilian employees were not given PPE to protect themselves from COVID-19, while being required to work. This is unacceptable.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
As a person of color, I have been the victim of overt and covert racism my entire life. We must have uncomfortable conversations in order to find true solutions. We must dial down the rhetoric and attempt to have a community discussion with wide participation to find real solutions.
What motivates you to run for public office?
It sounds cliché, but it 100% true, “I want to change the world.” There is work to be done, I am capable, passionate and know how to get the job done.