News & Politics

HERO: Florida Sheriff Gives Fantastic Advice for Crime Victims to 'Save Taxpayers Money'

HERO: Florida Sheriff Gives Fantastic Advice for Crime Victims to 'Save Taxpayers Money'

This is the greatest advice most city-folk probably have never heard from a cop.

But before we get to the advice, here’s the backstory — it starts with a series of burglaries in Santa Rosa County, Fla. The Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Department deputies were chasing the burglar as he jumped fences and conducted a running series of break-ins. In one case, the bad guy, later identified as Brandon Harris, who’s 32 and old enough to know better, jumped into a backyard where a girl was playing. The kid ran into the house in time for her mother to slam the door before Harris’s smiling face appeared in the window, begging her to let him in. She didn’t.


After several more burglaries, deputies cornered Harris in the bedroom of yet another home. A body cam showed him jumping out of the window only to elude deputies again. He caught shortly thereafter.

As you may have guessed, Harris is no Boy Scout. Far from it. Harris is a violent felon who’s on parole and probation.

In a news conference after the arrest (look at that creepy mugshot), Santa Rosa Sheriff Bob Johnson told reporters that at one point during the burglary spree, a homeowner took a shot at the dirtbag but missed. The homeowner who took the shot wouldn’t come forward, thinking they’d done something wrong.

But Johnson offered some sage advice. He advised all homeowners to shoot these bastards to “save taxpayers money.”

And he had more advice. He told the news conference attendees that “if somebody’s breaking into your house, you’re more than welcome to shoot them in Santa Rosa County, and we prefer that you do actually [emphasis added].”

He said to the unidentified shooter, “whoever that was, you’re not in trouble.” In fact, he offered the homeowner a suggestion on how to shoot straighter to make sure that next time, they hit the bad guy. “Come see us,” he advised. “We have a gun safety class we put on every other Saturday. If you take that, you’ll shoot a lot better, and hopefully, you’ll save taxpayers money.”


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Not too long ago, my uncle held a dirtbag who was stealing his tools at gunpoint until a sheriff’s deputy arrived. When the deputy asked him about it, he said he’d planned to shoot the guy in the leg. The deputy had advice for him: don’t. Shoot at center mass, he said. It would have been a justified shooting, and that way the bad guy might be around to testify against you or sue you.

When we lived in Encinitas, Calif., we were burglarized. Naturally, we alerted the sheriff’s department. The advice we got was to put on better locks and install an alarm system, which we did, of course. We were young and dumb.  We filed reports and did the crime victim dance. By the time the burglar was finally caught, he’d already managed to find new and creative ways to get inside our reinforced home. We were hit five times.

Of course, the biggest hit was his first burglary. By the time we’d reinforced our home, it was too late to retrieve the bracelet full of gold charms, collected throughout the years to commemorate milestones in my life, that I’d planned to leave my kids. Worse, it was too late to get back all of the videos we had of our daughter who had just died. Her videos were in the bag with the video camera the dirtbag stole. He stole all of our Christmas presents, and his girlfriend went through my clothes and stole only the best items.


In all, that meth addict was responsible for more than 300 burglaries.

I called the local pawn shops to chase down our stuff and finally got word about how to get in touch with the burglar’s family. I made contact and begged them for two things: his address in prison and to tell me if they knew where my videos were. My prison letter went unanswered.

Now, older and smarter, I would not hesitate to shoot that burglar if I confronted him inside my home.

What’s your story and advice? Put them in the comments section below.

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