Sheriff’s NET initiative preps for New Year

By Mary Maraghy Correspondent
Posted 1/9/19

OAKLEAF – Last year, a naked man flashed Stephanie Mooneyham while she was walking in Oakleaf.

She was horrified, especially as a newcomer to the community. But she felt much better when she …

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Sheriff’s NET initiative preps for New Year

Posted

OAKLEAF – Last year, a naked man flashed Stephanie Mooneyham while she was walking in Oakleaf.

She was horrified, especially as a newcomer to the community. But she felt much better when she learned the man was arrested by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Mooneyham learned of his arrest while attending a monthly meeting of her local Sheriff’s NET or Neighborhood Engagement Team.

Sheriff’s NET is an initiative established last year to build trust and cooperation between law enforcement and communities. Each zone has its own NET.

“It’s kind of like a big neighborhood watch meeting,” said Laurie Fowler, chairwoman of OakLeaf’s Zone 2 NET, which meets monthly and features speakers and demonstrations. “We are privy to a lot of information and statistics that others aren’t.”

Mooneyham, who is co-chairman this year, is interested in making her community safer and making sure her children don’t grow up afraid of police officers.

“I want to do what I can to bridge that cultural gap,” Mooneyham said.

Car break-ins dominated Oakleaf’s crimes last year, said Steve Barreira, chief of patrol for the sheriff’s office. “Unlocked vehicles were a problem we have been working on,” he said, adding that the numbers have dropped. Barreira also lives in Oakleaf.

“My family is here. My kids are here. I have a vested interest,” Barreira said. “Community engagement is crucial. We can’t keep Clay Count safe by ourselves.”

More than 20 residents and a half dozen ZONE 2 patrol officers attended the 2019 kick off meeting Jan. 3 at OakLeaf’s phase one pool house.

Nationally, only half of crimes are reported, Barreira said. He urged NET members to promote the “see something, say something,” motto and to recruit NET members, especially residents who often complain of crimes and blast law enforcement on social media. Barreira hopes to do some neighborhood walks to encourage more participation from the many Oakleaf pocket communities.

In new countywide business, Barreira said, the sheriff’s office hopes to create a network of surveillance cameras in homes, neighborhoods and businesses countywide to develop a real time crime center to keep watch on the county.

To join NET, visit claysheriff.com, call (904) 264-6512 or download the CCSOFL app on your smart phone. There are no dues for NET; however, members must undergo a background check.

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