Walton County Sheriff Speaks Out Regarding Letter

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WALTON COUNTY-- The back bumper of every Walton County Sheriff's Office patrol car will soon have an "In God We Trust" sticker. It's an idea Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson Jr. said he got from a colleague.

"My good friend Sheriff Frank McKeithen over in Bay County," said Adkinson.

Adkinson said it's about principles, not religion.

"The community as a whole has just been tremendously engaged in reaching out," said Adkinson, "but it's our staff that has come forward and said, 'Sheriff this is what we're about.'"

Not everyone agrees. According to a letter sent to Adkinson by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the bumper stickers could hinder a deputy's ability to fulfill their duties and provide a different level of service based on personal principles.

"I found that to be patently offensive," said Adkinson. "Much more offensive than placing the state motto on our car."

Adkinson responded to the letter stating: "You are obviously unaware that "In God We Trust " is the state motto of the state of Florida and has been since 1886, this was reaffirmed in 2006. Additionally, it is the motto of the United States."

Adkinson says the letter is not a surprise.

"There are people who are offended that the sun came up this morning," said Adkinson. "That should not surprise me, but it does surprise me particularly because the issue has been long been decided by the courts."

Adkinson says the group has a couple of choices if it wants the stickers removed.

"There are simply two options. You can get a court order or, two, you can get a new sheriff," said Adkinson. "But I assure you, it's not something I'm prepared to compromise on. It's not going away."