DSPD vs. Walton County Sheriff's Office

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DeFuniak Springs Police Chief Michael Adkinson says Walton County Sheriff Ralph Johnson is trying to get rid of his department.

Adkinson believes the Sheriff's Department can provide better service to the people of DeFuniak Springs than the Police Department, but Adkinson says the sheriff won't even take the time to talk to him about the takeover, so why would he take time for the people of DeFuniak?

Michael Adkinson took over as DeFuniak Springs police chief late last year, but he may soon be out of a job if Walton County Sheriff Ralph Johnson gets his way and gets rid of DeFuniak Spring' police department.

Adkinson says the sheriff still hasn't contacted him about the situation.

"I certainly would have appreciated it more had we had a conversation about what issues they had about the situation," said Adkinson.

Adkinson says even though he hasn't spoken to the sheriff, he knows Johnson's complaints. He says the sheriff believes DeFuniak Springs doesn't have enough police officers, and as a result deputies are being forced to respond to issues within the city limits.

But Adkinson says the Sheriff's Office runs the dispatch center, and therefore controls which of the two departments responds to calls. Adkinson wants this to change.

"There's a statewide push to go to unified dispatch and we would like to be in a situation where we can talk to the Fire Department," said Adkinson.

Adkinson says he doesn't want to start a political battle with the sheriff, but he is going to make sure he still has a department.

"At the end of the day the sheriff and I should have the same goal in mind, and that is to provide protection and service to the citizens," said Adkinson.

DeFuniak Springs is one of only two cities left in the state with an elected police chief. Adkinson says to get rid of the department, Johnson will have to get city council members to put the issue on a ballot and let the people of DeFuniak Springs decide.