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New deputy takes the helm in SCC

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image HCSO Sun City Center Community Resource Deputy Jason Castillo assumed his new position in the community on Feb. 18. Photo Mitch Traphagen

The low crime rate does not happen by accident. It takes hard work, something the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, working closely with the volunteer Security Squad, takes very seriously.

By Mitch Traphagen

Sun City Center has the lowest crime rate in Hillsborough County. On the surface, it would appear as though the job of community resource deputy would be an easy one, consisting primarily of seemingly endless meetings and community events. But the low crime rate does not happen by accident. It takes hard work, something the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, working closely with the volunteer security squad, takes very seriously. The residents of the community are our parents and grandparents. In some instances, they are among the most vulnerable members of our larger community. And for the Sun City Center Community Resource Deputy, the meetings may sometimes seem endless, but the threats to the community truly are endless. It takes vigilance, skill, professionalism and an enormous commitment to ensure the ongoing safety of the community from those who seek to exploit the elderly.

The community resource deputy is a position that is not treated lightly by either Sheriff David Gee or HCSO District IV Commander Major Ron Hartley. The deputy chosen to fill the position has been considered carefully and meticulously, as proven by the consistently low crime rate. Previous resource deputies Joe Burt, Rob Thornton and most recently Chris Girard have all gone on to use their experience and success in the community to further and better protect the residents of the county at large.

And so it is with the community’s newest deputy, Jason Castillo. Deputy Castillo grew up in Ruskin and now lives in the Balm-Wimauma area. He has relatives living in Sun City Center. He knows what is at stake; he knows the importance of his position.

Castillo took the helm of his new post last Monday and, with the help of former community deputy Chris Girard, members of the security squad and other community residents, is already settling into office.

“I can see where I can do a lot with the community and really interact with the people in the community,” Dep. Castillo said. “With the level of community involvement here, we can work better to serve the people in the community. We can’t be everywhere, so with people involved like they are it helps us to do our jobs better.”

Castillo has been with the HCSO for the past eight years and previously served covering Homeland Security at the Port of Tampa. He takes his new job with no less commitment and seriousness.

“I’ve been around the community for a long time, I grew up right next door,” he said. “I understand a lot of what goes on in this community, and in the needs for law enforcement. I just hope to do a really good job.”

In other words, Deputy Castillo hopes and plans to protect and serve the community to the best of his ability. Given his selection for the post, and like those of his predecessors, his abilities are likely to be great indeed.

“There is a very strong tie that I have with this community,” he continued.

The Deputy spent much of his first week attending meetings, but was happy to see residents stop by to introduce themselves when he is in the office. He already knows that working with and getting to know the people in the community is a win for everyone.

Sun City Center is, after all, the very definition of community-based policing. That concept requires a special person at the helm, someone with dedication and commitment to those they serve. The success of the concept speaks for itself. While the criminal threats are apparently infinite, the commitment to protect is greater still. Nowhere else in Hillsborough County is that more apparent than in Sun City Center. It takes a special law enforcement officer to continue that success.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Sun City Center substation is located in the Community Association complex on North Pebble Beach adjacent to the shuffleboard courts. The District IV office may be reached by calling 813-247-0455 and the HCSO website is www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.

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