Born, raised and educated in Alachua County, Zac Zedalis wants the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office to get back to its main mission — to serve and protect the public.
Zedalis is running for Alachua County Sheriff in 2016 because he said there is a need to improve the Alachua County agency.
Growing up in Alachua County, and with his mom, dad and stepmother serving the community for over 100 years combined, Zedalis said he knows better than anyone what the community needs.
“Serving this community runs in my blood,” he said.
His roots in service, he said, are why he joined ACSO and why he is currently a detective.
There are three main issues Zedalis said he wants to tackle if elected: low morale, budget concerns and cultural issues.
Zedalis said he thinks current ACSO employees do not feel appreciated enough.
“The philosophy of the sheriff’s office is that we all serve the sheriff,” he explained. “The reality is the employees of the sheriff’s office serve the public. The sheriff should facilitate the needs of the employees.”
Zedalis said another issue with ACSO is recruiting employees, which he said should be like recruiting for a champion sports team. The department should be recruiting for the “best of the best” and for diversity.
Citing national issues with law enforcement, Zedalis said if ACSO does not get good people to work for the county, and if those people are not appreciated, the department is opening the door for similar incidences in Alachua County.
“We can only really control our backyard,” he said.
Zedalis also wants to address budget concerns. He said ACSO is not only here for protection against crime but also for financial protection. He wants more government transparency and citizen money spent on services to go toward the citizens themselves.
As much as Zedalis said he loves serving the public through his role as a detective, he said his services are needed at a higher position — it’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make.
ACSO spokesman Art Forgey sent an emailed statement to WUFT on behalf of the current sheriff, Sadie Darnell: “Sheriff Darnell has yet to make any public announcement about the 2016 election.”