The Fernandina Beach Rotary Club recently welcomed Sheriff Bill Leeper as a guest speaker. A life-long resident of Nassau County, as well as a former city commissioner and mayor, Leeper spent 35 years in traffic enforcement and as a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol before being elected sheriff in 2012. Leeper said the department’s 30 law enforcement officers and 218 administrative personnel work within a number of divisions, including narcotics and vice, criminal investigations, 911 dispatch operations, agriculture and marine services, K9, crime scene investigations and special operations. He said the department’s $16.1 million budget is primarily allocated to the investigative and patrol divisions -- sheriff’s deputies patrol some 250-plus square miles in Nassau County. Since taking office, Leeper said he has implemented a number of community outreach programs, particularly for teens and senior citizens. He has put in action the department’s first-ever four-year strategic plan, strengthened employee hiring, training and review programs and revamped the records management system. Leeper noted that in 2013, Nassau County’s crime rate declined 17.2 percent despite an increase in population – a trend he attributes to a closer collaboration with the Fernandina Beach Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies.