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Former captain runs for sheriff
Kim Bogart: The incumbent doesn't measure up.
By DAVID DeCAMP, Times Staff Writer
Published November 3, 2007
Former Capt. Kim Bogart launched his bid Friday to be Pasco County Sheriff by blaming Sheriff Bob White for mismanaging the agency while "crime in Pasco County is at an all-time high."
The opening shots - not all dead-on - in one of the most closely followed countywide races in November 2008 mainly came from one direction.
"White focuses his attention on Band-Aid fixes to get votes, not on fundamental police work that gets results," said Bogart, 55, a law enforcement consultant and the executive director of the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission from New Port Richey.
Bogart was fired as the accreditation director by White in late 2000 during sweeping leadership changes as White took office.
Asked by the Times about Bogart's take on the crime rate, White's management and a recent spending spat with county officials, White, 57, hewed basically to one response:
"We're going to continue to focus on the safety and security of the citizens," said the two-term Republican from New Port Richey.
Asked why he kept giving the same answer to different questions, White said: "That's the answer to the question. That's the whole reason we exist."
Bogart said White's not measuring up as crime is up - although the "all-time high" mark isn't definitive. Bogart cited the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's report on total volume of crime countywide in 2006 versus previous years.
However, the crime rate per 100,000 people - a standard measurement - puts Pasco's 2006 rate a shade below the level in 2000, on the cusp of White's tenure.
As Bogart said, though, overall crimes went up 15 percent in 2006 - and the per 100,000 rate rose 10 percent - according to FDLE annual reports. Home invasion robberies increased 109 percent. Murders spiked, too.
The mid-year FDLE report for 2007 also shows a 6 percent increase.
"That crime rate isn't better. ... The residents, their likelihood of being a victim of a crime is significantly higher," Bogart said, chalking up the differences to different reports having "different purposes."
He also chided White for disbanding the agency's crime prevention unit, saying he would have redirected its efforts instead. White shuttered the unit to create more dispatcher positions.
Though White avoided specifics on the crime rate, he did say, "We're living in a pretty safe county, don't you think? And that goes to the credit of the men and women of the Sheriff's Office."
Bogart also criticized White's handling of his annual budget this summer. White requested an $11.2-million increase when the county was forced by state lawmakers to cut property tax rates. After tense, public bickering, the County Commission approved only a $2.6-million increase.
Bogart faulted White for "stubbornly" blaming "his poor planning on county officials." And Bogart faulted White for an inability to answer "rudimentary questions" from county officials, specifically the number of patrol zones in the county. During one meeting, White turned to several of his top brass to get an answer.
"It's a big county and the population is growing, and our resources haven't grown to keep up," White noted. But again, he said, "That doesn't diminish our resolve and our commitment."
So far the race pits a newcomer to politics, and since June 21 the Democratic Party, against a two-term incumbent with close ties to fellow leading Republicans. Bogart said he switched from the GOP because of differences on privacy and human rights at the national level, and insurance and property tax changes at the state.
Bogart acknowledged that he has to raise lots of money to challenge White, a friend of Gov. Charlie Crist and state Sen. Mike Fasano. White easily won re-election in 2004, raising $183,800.
Alison Morano, chairwoman of the Pasco County Democratic Party, said she has only briefly met Bogart. But she welcomed him into her ranks - and welcomed White's possible vulnerabilities after the budget fracas and loud protests and critical billboards by police unions against White.
But Fasano said White's chances at re-election are as strong as any incumbent Republican.
"He's doing exactly what every senior citizen, every voter, every citizen, every voter wants him to do," Fasano said.