Osceola Sheriff takes unusual approach to cleaning up crime

The Osceola County Sheriff has a new way to crack down on crime, while also trying to hire people at his agency.

"If you think you have what it takes to do what we do, come be a part of the solution," Sheriff Marcos Lopez says. 

A North Kissimmee neighborhood off Old Dixie Highway is an unusual area to promote jobs, but the sheriff says he picked this place on purpose. "We had a drive-by shooting here the other day. It was drug-related. Hardworking guy with kids. And then we had the fentanyl drug overdose. They crashed right here."

Sheriff Lopez says criminals often deal drugs here, that’s why he’s trying to clean up the neighborhood. "If they want to work instead of hustling drugs, they can get a job. We’re hiring for 911 dispatchers, we’re hiring for deputies, we’re hiring for people to change tires."

"I’m glad they’re here. I feel very comfortable with them here. I hope they can keep the riffraff out of our neighborhood."
Neighbor Sherma Lopez says many senior citizens live here. "Seems like it’s getting worse. My Mom’s been living here in this neighborhood for almost 50 years and I ain’t about to give it up to anybody."

But are these the kind of job candidates Sheriff Lopez is really looking for? We asked,"The question is, do you want anyone involved with drugs working at your agency?" Sheriff Lopez replies, "If it’s a misdemeanor exception like some marijuana usage, why not?  If we can get them off the bad path that they’re on, redirect them and be a positive influence on their life."

Sherma just wants crime out of here, "I hope the criminal element get the message that we don’t want them in our neighborhood."

Deputies will be out in the neighborhood off Old Dixie Highway, through August 13.