Marion County earns national achievement award for Crime

Information/Prevention Kiosk program

MARION COUNTY, FLORIDA (June 16, 2015) – Marion County’s Crime Information/Prevention Kiosk Program has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective government programs that enhance services for residents. NACo recognized the Crime Information/ Prevention Kiosk program in the category of criminal justice and public safety.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office kiosk program is an informational crime prevention system that displays wanted persons, missing and endangered persons, public service announcements and other messages that can be distributed to the public. Since the inception of the kiosk program in July 2014 by Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair, over 192 wanted subjects have been placed on the kiosk and 94 individuals have been captured after being featured. Over 100 kiosks are currently in place in businesses and public places in Marion County and business owners find that the kiosk not only acts as an informational outlet for their customers but the kiosk deters crime in their establishments. Sheriff Blair’s goal is to expand this program and encourage other sheriffs in the state, region and nation to utilize this successful crime prevention tool.

“It is my hope that law enforcement agencies around the state and nation will see how important this kiosk can be to their organizations and communities alike,” said Sheriff Blair. “If other agencies adopt this program, we could share critical information across multiple jurisdictions. Those with access to the kiosk system can update and post information within minutes from any mobile device, reaching every kiosk in the network instantly. Having a tool like this could change the game when it comes to time-sensitive investigations such as a missing person or child, an Amber Alert or a Silver Alert.”

Over the past several months, several other Florida sheriffs’ offices have adopted the kiosk program in their counties. This kiosk is a part of a coordinated effort between Sheriff Blair and the Marion County Board of County Commissioners to provide the best public safety services to the citizens of Marion County.

“The Marion County Board of County Commissioners is proud to have partnered with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on this effort. This is an innovative crime prevention tool that has been very effective for the citizens of Marion County,” said Marion County Commission Chairman Stan McClain.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has seen a crime decrease of 8.9% in two years and Sheriff Blair believes that his crime prevention programs, like the kiosk, have played a significant role in this accomplishment.

“We cannot measure crime prevention, but I do believe that this program will contribute to reducing crime in our community through identification and apprehension,” said Sheriff Blair.

NACo President Riki Hokama, council member, Maui County, Hawaii, said, “The National Association of Counties applauds county governments that are embracing innovative and more effective ways to serve their constituents. The Achievement Awards recognize counties’ outstanding efforts to strengthen services and deliver results for residents across the country.”

Nationally, awards are given in 21 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

The awards will be presented at NACo’s 2015 Annual Conference and Exposition July 10–13 in Mecklenburg County, N.C.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative county government programs. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received. The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America’s 3,069 county governments.

Lauren Lettelier
Public Information Officer
Marion County Sheriff’s Office
Cell: 352-843-4205
Office: 352-368-3594

Barbra Hernández
Marion County
Office of Public Information
Cell: 352-615-5994
Office: 352-438-2310