Date: March 6, 2002 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact: Michal Shanley, (863) 534-6631 or 819-0397 pager
Sheriff Crow To Present Governor Bush With Commendation For "10-20-Life" Initiative

In recognition of Governor Jeb Bush's outstanding crime-fighting initiatives, Polk County Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr., will present a Sheriff's Commendation to Governor Bush in special recognition of the "10-20-Life" initiative. The presentation will be held at noon tomorrow (Thursday, Mar. 7, 2002) at the Lakeland City Hall, located at 228 South Massachusetts Avenue in Lakeland. Media is encouraged to attend the event. Photo opportunities of Sheriff Crow and Governor Bush will be made available.

There were over 31,600 reported violent gun crimes in Florida during 1998. Legislative reform was needed to strengthen the criminal justice system and to prevent the early release of criminals, especially those who committed violent crimes.  Governor Bush advocated and successfully promoted  the "10-20-Life" initiative to mandate tough  prison terms for criminals who use firearms in the commission of a violent felony. Since enactment of this initiative in 1999 violent gun crimes have dropped dramatically statewide. Polk County has realized a 44% reduction in the violent gun crime rate in the three year period of 1998 - 2000. 

One recent example of how this legislation will ensure the safety of Polk County residents by locking up violent criminals is the case of Kithanie Fullwiley, the suspect arrested for the senseless and violent shooting of a Winter Haven bank employee in January 2002.  Thanks to "10-20-Life," Fullwiley is facing a life sentence once convicted. The legislation mandates that if a convicted suspect uses a firearm during a crime and injures a victim, that criminal faces up to life in prison.

"We take inspiration from Bush's commitment to enhance the quality of life within the State of Florida," said Sheriff Crow.
 
As Florida's governor, Bush has tirelessly supported quality state and local law enforcement. Under his leadership, Florida has enacted some of the toughest and most meaningful anti-crime laws in the nation.  His outstanding crime-fighting initiatives have set the tone in Florida: "If you commit the crime, you will do the time." 

"On behalf of the Polk County Sheriff's Office and the citizens of Polk County, I commend your progressive and effective leadership on criminal justice issues for the people of Florida," Crow states in the Commendation. "Crime is lower. There are many fewer victims. And those who commit crimes are receiving more meaningful and serious punishment. Thank you for making a difference."

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Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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