Citrus Deputy Mitch Cook is graduating from school resource officer to retired law enforcement officer

Citrus Deputy Mitch Cook is graduating from school resource officer to retired law enforcement officer

Deputy Mitch Cook is retiring from the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) after completing a 30-year career in law enforcement. (CCSO photo on June 21, 2019)

Now that graduations are over, students have said their goodbyes and the hallways are empty, School Resource Deputy Mitch Cook is ready to retire.

Deputy Cook is retiring from the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) after completing an outstanding 30-year career in law enforcement.

Deputy Cook started working for CCSO on August 3, 1989, as a Deputy Sheriff assigned to the Patrol Division. Throughout Deputy Cook’s career, he served the agency as a K9 Deputy, a detective, a bailiff, a corporal, a Field Training Officer and lastly, Deputy Cook ends his career as a School Resource Deputy at Citrus High School.

“We are grateful to Deputy Cook for his many years of service to the citizens of Citrus County,” said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. “His continued devotion to mentoring the youth of our community through the School Resource Deputy program will be sincerely missed. We wish him a healthy and very happy retirement.”

During Deputy Cook’s career, he received numerous accolades for his integral roles in cases such as the 1998 arrest of counterfeiter Tom Fox and for his role as a courtroom bailiff during the emotional Jessica Lunsford murder trial of John Couey. Please join us in congratulating Deputy Cook on his dedicated career and wishing him a long, healthy, and happy retirement.

School Safety

The Citrus County Commission, Sheriff and School District have begun talks about how to fund state-mandated school safety officers

The Citrus County Commission, Sheriff and School District have begun talks about how to fund state-mandated school safety officers for every school, not only in the county, but statewide. It’s not going to be cheap for struggling counties (March 27, 2018)

 

County, state ponder way forward in student safety

Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast hosted his own news conference to speak about how Gov. Rick Scott’s plan would dovetail with Citrus County’s plan.

Following on the heels of a news conference on Friday by Florida Gov. Rick Scott about plans for school safety after the Parkland, Fla., shootings, Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast hosted his own news conference to speak about how Scott’s plan would dovetail with Citrus County’s plan. (February 23, 2017).

 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Friday announced his plans of action in the wake of the school shootings in Parkkland, Fla.

 

Pleasant Grove Elementary School teacher facing marijuana charges

A Physical Education Teacher at Pleasant Grove Elementary School is facing marijuana charges.

Kimberly Hellenburg
Kimberly Hellenburg

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday morning arrested a Physical Education teacher at Pleasant Grove Elementary School and charged her with selling and possessing marijuana.

Kimberly Hellenburg, 55, was arrested on active Citrus County arrest warrants, the CCSO said

She was charged with two counts of selling marijuana and two counts of possession of marijuana. This occurred after narcotics detectives with the Sheriff’s Office’s Tactical Impact Unit concluded a several-week investigation into illegal sales from her home at 6716 E. Blue Heron Lane in Inverness.

During the investigation, the CCSO said, detectives were able to purchase large amounts of marijuana from Hellenburg. During the execution of a search warrant, detectives located more than two pounds of marijuana in the home, distribution equipment and at least one-half pound of marijuana in Hellenburg’s bedroom.

Hellenburg’s son, Brendan Brown, 19, was arrested at the same home on Dec. 28, 2017, when detectives served a search warrant at the residence. Brown was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after it was learned Brown would receive large amounts of marijuana in the mail from California.

It was learned Hellenburg was a teacher at a local elementary school late in the investigation, TIU Sgt. Ed Blair said. “It was important to us that after learning of her career as a teacher and the influences she has on our young children that she be arrested before students returned to school from winter break,” Blair said. After the arrest, school board officials were notified and made aware of the charges.

The specific charges are as follows:

  • Two counts Sale of a Controlled Substance and two counts Possession of a Controlled Substance.