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Tanner Andrews
Tanner Andrews

Some public officials are mannerly. They do their jobs, get along with people, and are well-regarded in the community. Think of them as real public servants, having hearts for service.

Then, there is Mike Chitwood. More of a Philly cop than a sheriff, he is prone to spout abuse with little thought for propriety or accuracy. Imagine a playground bully, physically grown but at heart still the kid who abuses others.

It has been four months since Chitwood publicly disagreed with FAITH, an organization that exhorts local leaders to do better. Chitwood disliked the statistics that FAITH quoted, showing inadequate performance by the sheriff.

Chitwood said FAITH leaders were “a pack of liars hiding behind the Bible.”

Having had some years to observe Chitwood, I am unsurprised that the statistics to which Chitwood excepted were the numbers posted by the state, presumably originally supplied by Chitwood!

Chitwood objects to the group “trying to pressure me,” as he puts it. Oddly enough, that is generally considered one of the strengths of America: We can form groups to urge our politicians to do the right things.

Nor is this isolated. Chitwood has a history of name-calling and abuse, about what you expect from a Philly cop. Just recently, he got sore when a lady complained of having her leg felt before she went into a meeting in Deltona.

Of course, Chitwood reacted. He does not like complaints, so his department filed charges, claiming that the lady’s facts were false. Embarrassingly enough, the prosecutor described the lady’s complaint: “said statement is true.”

Such facts do not bother Chitwood. He issued a statement calling the lady a “lying sack of $#!+.” He never was very imaginative with abuse.

I detect a pattern here. Chitwood gets caught, then starts the name-calling. Maybe he expects people to drop down to his level or start crying.

Chitwood says everyone but him is lying. Who should we trust, a politician or our own dishonest eyes? Well, the politician says, “Trust me.”

A guy with skin as thin as Chitwood’s should stay out of the public arena. If he can do no better than calling everyone liars, let him stay home.

And I have a pretty good idea what Chitwood will be thinking as he reads this — that $#!+ Andrews has a thick skin, and an even thicker head!

— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.

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