The deputies who serve on road patrol can tell you there is no such thing as “routine” patrol activities. The Patrol Unit is considered the backbone of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. It is not only the largest division within the Sheriff’s Office, it is also the most visible. Its general responsibility is to protect lives and property, to maintain a safe and orderly environment for citizens and visitors in all areas of Okaloosa County. Daily activities include patrolling their jurisdictions, answering calls, and investigating any suspicious activity, as well as responding to unusual occurrences. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office received more than 175,000 calls for service in 2010 alone.
Commanded by Major Michael Howell, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Unit is made up of approximately 110 uniformed deputies who provide law enforcement services within three geographic districts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The North District includes from north of Duke Field to the Alabama state line outside the Crestview city limits and is supervised by Captain Todd Watkins. The Central District consists of the unincorporated areas south of Duke Field around unincorporated Fort Walton Beach to west Okaloosa County. The Central District is supervised by Captain Grady Carpenter. The East District includes Destin and Okaloosa Island as well as the unincorporated areas around Niceville including Bluewater Bay and Seminole. It is supervised by Captain Jason Fulghum.
During their shifts, patrol deputies will typically be called upon to identify, pursue and arrest criminals, enforce traffic laws, and resolve problems, so they must have an in-depth knowledge of the law and be well-rounded, with strong observation and communication skills. For citizens interested in the opportunity to observe police operations and functions of the patrol deputies, the Sheriff’s Office offers a ride-along program. Anyone who wishes to ride with a deputy must sign a Waiver of Liability for the Sheriff’s Office.
- Captain Todd Watkins: 689-5072 North District
- Captain Grady Carpenter: 651-7428 Central District
- Captain Jason Fulghum: 613-2208 East District