DELTONA, FLA. -- A man is shot in the back in a drug-related incident in his Deltona residence a couple of days ago. Another man is stabbed to death Friday night in his Deltona home. A little more than a week ago a man was murdered in the Burger King restaurant.
This is not Orlando. This is not Miami. This is not Jacksonville. This is Deltona, a predominantly residential community made up of families who reside mostly in single-family homes.
The violence seen in Deltona in the past 16 months is unprecedented and clearly, the onus is on Sheriff Mike Chitwood to acknowledge it and come up with a plan to deal with it. He has done neither. Otherwise, for the sake of public safety, he should resign and do it now.
Let me be clear about this: Chitwood's so-called CompStat sessions, in which he claims Deltona crime has gone down since he took office 16 months ago is pure fiction. His stats are manipulated and bogus.
This Sheriff, with his vitriolic persona, clearly is compromising the public safety and welfare not only of Deltona but of the communities in general under the umbrella of the VCSO, the county's largest law enforcement agency.
Chitwood's veracity is so easily called into question with respect to incidents like the speeding ticket fiasco just 20 days into office, the stop sticks incident where the wrong vehicle was targeted on I-95, and a video showing several deputies horsing around (including a Taser going off) during active business in Circuit Judge Jim Clayton's courtroom.
Chitwood has referred to County Manager Jim Dinneen in a front-page story in the daily newspaper of record as a "lying sack of shit," in addition to being quoted in other stories using the F-word.
Chitwood referred to this reporter as an "insignificant little worm" in a response email inquiry about the hiring of his campaign manager for a PR job at top salary with so many deputy openings (an email that was copied to the elected County Council leaders).
I have said this before and I will say it again: Deltona is on the fast track in replacing Daytona Beach as the most violent city in Volusia County.
Chitwood's ill-treatment of sworn personnel shows his utter disregard for decency and clearly a pattern of favoritism and division in the ranks.
A deputy was arrested after he and his wife got into an argument over a tape measure. The deputy, in fact, twisted his wife's arm so badly she was screaming in pain and called 9-12-1, an ugly situation in front of a minor.
When two deputies arrived ion scene, the offending deputy spit in his wife's face before he was hauled off to the Volusia County Branch Jail where he spent two days. After entering into a diversionary program he returned to work. Not a word was said by Chitwood.
Another deputy, in a union Facebook page that is private, ripped the sheriff in an expletive-filled posting for his inaction on several issues. One of Chitwood's snitches (yes, that kind of in-house turmoil has been festering since his swearing in) made a screenshot of the posting and brought it to the sheriff. Chitwood's response to it clearly shows how thin-skinned he is: He fired the deputy, who was among the most prolific in making arrests and solving crimes. This deputy, too, has a family, now has to rely on relatives to help meet his financial needs.
Chitwood is mentally and socially unstable.
The bottom line is Chitwood's continuing lies, personal attacks and ill-treatment of his personnel, if left unchecked, will only lead to greater weaknesses in public safety and that will further impact the very citizens this sheriff swore under oath to serve and protect.
This Sheriff's behavior and the results of it speak volume as to the enormity of problems he created as police chief in Daytona for a decade before using his "friends in the media" to help propel him into this top cop post with the VCSO in 2016. These same media friends have ignored the obvious because they have long since become whores to Chitwood's theatrics and outrageous one liners to lead newscasts or carry stories on the front page.
There's no time like the present for Mike Chitwood to do the right thing and resign because he is not going to change his disgusting behavior.