Amendment 10 backed by some Bay Area sheriffs

Image 1 of 6

It's billed as The Protection Amendment, but some ask what it's protecting.

The Florida Sheriff's Association rolled out its push to educate Florida voters on Amendment 10 Thursday at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

The amendment has four elements.

First, it would make Florida’s Veterans Affairs Department constitutionally required.

Second, it would create a counter-terrorism office within the Department of Law Enforcement.

Third, it would move up the state’s legislative session from March to January, during even-numbered years.

But the fourth element is also the most comprehensive: Requiring five county-level offices (sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser, clerk of the court, and supervisor of elections), to be elected, instead of appointed, in all 67 of Florida's counties.

In most counties, all five of those positions are already elected. But in eight counties, they are not.

For instance, Miami-Dade County has an appointed police director instead of an elected sheriff.

“It would have an effect on counties like that by ensuring that a sworn law enforcement officer is directly elected by the people,”= Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast explained.

Opponents say Amendment 10 would hurt those eight counties, which are governed by charter, allowing those positions to be appointed rather than elected.

Sheriff Prendergast says residents in those eight counties - none of which is in the Bay Area -  have to wade thru layers of bureaucracy to get help. This amendment, he says, will fix that.

"When that citizen calls up and asks to speak to that constitutional officer, they get in touch with that sheriff or that constitutional officer and their problem gets solved and it gets addressed immediately," he said.