“ … a hometown community approach with the intent of creating strong bonds with residents and visitors” reads part of the mission statement for the City of Destin Code Compliance Department. They do what you’d expect them to do – work on matters of public concern such as monitoring and enforcing a variety of ordinances, codes and regulations related to zoning, land use, building codes, public nuisance, beach vendors, livery vessels and short and long-term rentals. For the latter, Code has experienced an 8% increase on short-term rental registrations and has just this year discovered about a dozen never-before registered short-term rentals.
But they’re striving to do even more.
Most recently, the Code Compliance Department has acquired new equipment to provide expanded services. All Code Compliance Officers are trained in CPR, and they were recently issued a water rescue disc and a portable flotation device (PFD) to respond to and assist with water rescues. The rescue discs are designed similar to a frisbee with a 100-foot cord attached to it, so it allows an officer to throw a lifeline to a person in the water.
“We’re often on the beach and by other waterways throughout their day-to-day shifts,” said Brian Eagar, Code Compliance Officer. “The rescue disk and inflatable life vest are valuable pieces of life saving equipment that can assist in saving a distressed swimmer. Having this equipment helps us to be ready if any type of water related incident occurs around or nearby us.”
Code Compliance Officers were also issued first responder trauma kits that include a tourniquet, an emergency trauma dressing, a bleeding control dressing, two chest seals and pair of rubber gloves.
“It is important to outfit our Code Compliance Officers with this equipment as they are routinely interacting with the public and driving around our community. Should there be an incident like a traffic crash, boat accident or some other emergency that we roll up on, we’re now prepared to offer immediate life care measures that we were not able to do before. It’s our hope that the community recognizes that we’re more than an enforcement arm of the city and that we can also be of assistance in someone’s time of critical need,” said Troy Williams, Code Compliance Director.
The Code Compliance Officers were also issued the lifesaving opiod overdose reversal drug Narcan in the event they’re alerted to scene where it’s needed.
“We began issuing this lifesaving drug to our Code Compliance Officers due to their frequency of contact with the public. It is well known the United Stated suffers from an opioid epidemic and we would be naïve to think that with as many visitors that frequent our great city that an overdose could not happen here. Narcan works to reverse the effects of a life-threatening opioid overdose or suspected opioid overdose. Again, we want to be able to provide an increased level of service to our community, both residents and visitors,” said Williams.
And finally, the Code Compliance Officers were issued professional Big Easy brand “lockout” kits.
“All the officers have these kits in their duty vehicles,” said Brian Davis, Deputy Code Director. “These kits are of great importance when considering instances where a pet or, heaven forbid a child, is accidentally locked in a car.”
The Code Compliance Department aims to be much more than enforcing ordinances and writing citations. Williams said, “As we see it, part of our job is to avail ourselves of tools and equipment that better serve the whole community and create an atmosphere of public trust, transparency and accountability.”
Although there are new faces, new equipment and new services offered, the hometown community approach is at the forefront of all they do. Within a week of acquiring the lockout tool, Code assisted a local resident who had locked her car keys in her vehicle while she was at work.