Fellsmere Police Chief Keith Touchberry’s marketing campaign for Indian River County Sheriff now has the backing of a statewide legislation enforcement union he led final yr.

The Tallahassee-based Florida Police Chiefs Affiliation (FPCA) introduced its help of Touchberry’s bid this yr to unseat Sheriff Eric Flowers.

“Chief Touchberry is a unprecedented public servant (and) confirmed champion for legislation enforcement and public security,” FPCA President Charles “Chuck” Broadway mentioned in a press release. “We stay up for proceed working with Chief Touchberry on behalf of the folks of Indian River County and the state of Florida.”

FPCA First Vice President Charlie Vazquez added, “Chief Touchberry has the data, expertise, and relationships mandatory to deal with advanced public issues of safety, and that’s why the FPCA endorses him as the following Sheriff of Indian River County.”

A former member of the U.S. Military Reserve and Marine Corps, Touchberry — who additionally ran for Sheriff in 2020 — has been a legislation enforcement skilled in Indian River County for nearly 35 years. He started his profession in 1989 with the Vero Seaside Police Division, the place he rose to the rank of Captain earlier than departing to steer the Fellsmere Police Division in 2013.

His police work has included patrol, Ok-9, SWAT, felony investigations, accreditation, coaching, supervision and administration assignments. He additionally works as an educator, educating at “Future Chiefs” seminars with the FPCA and felony justice programs as an adjunct professor on the Florida Institute of Know-how and Indian River State Faculty.

In its 2022-23 time period, Touchberry led the FPCA as President, throughout which he was “the impetus behind the creation of the Command Officer Growth Initiative (CODI), a mannequin system that can information the coaching of future legislation enforcement leaders and the evolution of the legislation enforcement occupation,” a press be aware from his marketing campaign mentioned.

He additionally initiated the Future Educators Response to Lively Shooters (FERTAS) program on the Fellsmere Police Division in collaboration with Indian River State Faculty, the Treasure Coast Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Affiliation, and Indian River, Okeechobee, Martin and St. Lucie Counties.

“Chief Touchberry evokes belief and dedication in these he leads as a result of he lives true to his values,” FPCA Second Vice President Robert Bage mentioned. “At a time when legislation enforcement businesses face large recruiting and retention points, the (FPCA) is very proud to help a pacesetter who will convey folks collectively like Chief Touchberry.”

Touchberry faces two fellow Republicans within the Sheriff’s race. One is Flowers, the incumbent who gained the 2020 Main with 62% of the vote and the Normal with 80% voter help.

The opposite is Indian River County Sheriff’s Capt. Milo Thornton, whom Flowers promoted from Main to Deputy Chief in 2021 earlier than demoting him in April 2022 following an inside probe into complaints of intimidation and an “autocratic management style.” Regardless of being cleared of wrongdoing, Flowers nonetheless minimize Thornton’s rank and pay and reassigned him to the division’s college security division.

Deborah Cooney, a no-party banking administrator and musician who positioned a distant second behind Flowers in 2020, is once more looking for the county’s prime cop publish.

Her 2020 marketing campaign prioritized police reforms, together with ending corruption throughout the division, increasing diversion applications for addicts and non-violent misdemeanor offenders, banning police unions and controversial strategies equivalent to no-knock raids and chokeholds, and help for causes like Black Lives Matter, Me Too and Giffords, a gun management advocacy group.

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