News from the desk of Sheriff James Potter


Summer Safety

Hey DeSoto County,

School is out for summer!

Whether you are out on the water, visiting local parks, or traveling elsewhere, we are kicking off the season with some helpful safety tips to remember when you’re out and about during the summer months.

Living in the sunshine state, we face the heat all year round, and temperatures can get scorching during the summer months. Prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries and death during hot weather by staying in air-conditioned locations as much as possible. When you are outside, drink plenty of fluids even when you don’t feel thirsty to prevent dehydration.

Did you know 53% of hot car deaths happen because someone forgets a child in a car? Never leave your children or pets in the car. Rolling the windows down or parking in the shade does little to change the inside temperature of the vehicle. A child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult. If you see a child alone in a vehicle, make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 9-1-1 immediately.

With temperatures skyrocketing, you’ll probably be searching for ways to cool down! Whether it’s the river, pools or driving out to the gulf coast, if you’re planning to take a dip, I encourage you to swim safely.

“I only looked away for a second.”

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for children ages one to four, and the second leading cause of unintentional death for children ages five to 14. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports there are an estimated 4,000 fatal unintentional deaths every year in the United States. That equates to an average of 11 drowning deaths per day.

There are certain reported factors that make drowning more likely, such as not being able to swim, location, drinking alcohol, lack of close supervision or not wearing life jackets. Drowning is a major public health issue, and you can do your part to prevent it.

  1. Learn basic swimming and water safety skills. Children who have had swimming lessons should still have constant supervision when in or near water.
  2. Designate a responsible adult to supervise closely when children have access to water.
  3. People of all ages and swimming abilities should wear a life jacket while boating. Those who need swimming assistance can also wear life jackets.
  4. Learn CPR, you could save someone’s life in the time it takes for emergency responders to arrive.

Safe Summer Traveling

If you are traveling for vacations this summer, there are some important safety tips to keep in mind. Remember where your family is staying is private information. Although it can be exciting to share your plans with your friends and family, remember to avoid publishing your location on social media platforms. When traveling, do not discuss your trip with anyone on the way or at the airport. If you are taking a road trip, remember to take extra safety precautions and drive safely. You can refer to my previous article, “Keeping you Safe on the Road,” for more driving safety tips.

While staying away in a hotel or rental home, remember it’s the little things that can increase your chances of being a victim of a crime. When you check in, familiarize yourself with the room, including any emergency exits. Don’t open the door unless you know the person! Even if the person claims to be an employee, call and verify with the front desk before opening the door. If you are traveling with children, give them a hotel business card to help them remember the name, address and phone number for where you are staying. Place all valuables in the deposit box or room safe. Do not leave them in your vehicle. And remember to always lock up your vehicle before heading in for the night, especially when you’re on vacation.

If you see something suspicious, say something. Call 9-1-1 immediately and notify the hotel management staff. We are here to protect YOU.

Be Kind, Be Safe, God Bless.
Sheriff Potter

Here are some helpful resources to refer to:

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission -
Arrive Alive this Summer -
Bicycle Safety -
Motorcycle Safety and Share the Road campaign -
National Weather Service -