Former Brevard County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Potters, a Republican says he will challenge Sheriff Wayne Ivey in the upcoming election. Although he has announced, there is still no paperwork shown on the supervisor of elections website for his candidacy.
Potters was infamously shot during an ambush at a traffic stop in 2021. Sheriff Ivey responded to the shooting and killing of the suspect with the phrase “evil can never be dead enough” coupled with the hashtag #magdump. He sold tshirts with the phrase to raise money for charity.
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Yesterday, we asked Potters some questions about his candidacy.
Why are you running?
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I’ve always believed running for public office is a great honor. And those in office should respect the ones who put them there.
With most public offices, they have employees or deputies. The needs of those employees should never go unnoticed or ignored.
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I am so proud to have been apart of BCSO, and hoped and prayed after the ambush attack in August 2021, that would really usher in some changes to make our community and deputies safer. That didn’t happen.
I’m not interested in what the office can do for me, but what changes can I bring about to make it a better place to work and live.
Being a former Marine and beat cop most of my adult life has taught me one thing, listen to your troops, get what they need and make it happen.
Handling of the ambush shooting
After the fog of the incident started to fade, I learned about some of those “products” being sold my the sheriff’s charity.
I never got a penny from the charity nor any items from them.
The #magdump hashtag was a little extreme for me. It’s taken a huge emotional toll on my family too. My children were 5 and 9 at the time, and one is still in therapy from seeing me get hurt and the video.
Are there any other specific incidents or in general you’d say contrast with how you believe the office should be run?
Yes I believe in community and not clicks. Public messages are important, but the extra time, money, and resources it takes to create game shows and other click bait videos only seem to serve the content creator and not the people.
How do you feel about your chances in a Republican primary and do you feel you will have the financial backing needed to make a solid run?
I’m sure I won’t be able to keep up with the money the other candidates can raise, but I have something more powerful, resolve. I don’t quit or backdown easily. We need a Sheriff who is engaged with the patrol deputies and all of the members of the community, not just the ones who live in gated neighborhoods.
Current conditions of the sheriff’s department?
From what I have heard the morale is very low. Deputies are leaving by the hundreds each year. The jail is extremely short staffed and barely functioning. If the leadership doesn’t make a change to compete with the surrounding agencies, it will only get worse. That cause the workload on the patrol deputies to increase, while they already have a full list of pending calls for service when they log in for the shift.
We don’t have a recruiting problem, there is a retention problem. And that blame is at the top.
When the top brass refuse any plausible solution to the retention problem, the person who pays the price are the men and women who are out on the street daily.
Insecure leaders will surround themselves with “yes people”.
Effective leaders will surround themselves with people who challenge them. Currently I don’t know anyone who challenges the current Sheriff.
What’s your position on body cams?
Prior to BCSO I worked at the Titusville Police Department where we had body camera’s. For me, with or without one didn’t matter. I did the job effectively and with integrity. Body camera’s have been out for a long time. The issue with them is costs and storage. There are statutory requirements on certain things that require an agency to store footage and evidence forever. That’s a huge burden when you multiply one camera per employee times 1200. It also takes a huge amount of time away from records personnel who have to sort, edit, and blur videos for public release. I found they do become a distraction to the officer/deputy who has to constantly monitor it’s status. I’d rather have the deputies focused on the issue in front of them and not fiddle with a camera. The dash camera system currently has excellent camera’s and the microphone can record from a very long distance.
Potters released a video on Facebook yesterday announcing his candidacy.
In it he says “I’m running because I have grown increasingly concerned about the course of events that has occurred within our county,” Potters said in the video. “In my opinion, the root of these problems lies here in the office of sheriff. Our sheriff’s office has become a mecca of the good-old-boy system that functions largely for its own benefit; increasingly insensitive to the needs of its employees and citizens.”
Sheriff Ivey however has tremendous support from the community, and has only been challenged once since being elected, defeating his Democratic challenger by a landslide.
Ivey announced his bid for reelection last month in a video. He cited the ever decreasing crime rates in Brevard since being elected, along with increasing the footprint of BCSO in providing safety in the port and in the schools.