Attorney General Ashley Moody visits SAO, touts recruitment, battle against opioid abuse

Recruiting, training, and retaining skilled prosecutors and law enforcement officers, and focusing resources on the opioid epidemic topped the discussion Monday as Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody met with State Attorney Larry Basford and staff.

Moody, who earlier this month launched a nationwide law enforcement recruitment initiative, “Be A Florida Hero,” said her time with the state’s lead prosecutors is crucial.

“It’s important the Attorney General and State Attorneys of every individual circuit have a strong working relationship to best serve the needs of each individual area,” Moody said Monday in Panama City. “It helps us identify parallel issues between circuits.

“I think our state attorneys work as a team and they all work well together.”

Basford said the commitment of support and resources from the state is invaluable as the system continues to catch up from a court docket ravaged by Hurricane Michael and COVID while taking new cases as well.

“She’s going to be a very valuable partner in trying to keep our communities safe, especially in crimes against the elderly which I know she has a particular interest in,” Basford said. “Getting and retaining talented prosecutors and law enforcement officers is a key element of that.”

Moody and Basford both believe her efforts through, “Be A Florida Hero” will attract talented attorneys and law enforcement officers from across the country. It is a one-stop shopping recruitment website that includes a list of Florida’s law enforcement agencies with information on career opportunities and a pitch on why Florida is the place to be a hero. It includes information on cost of living, recreation opportunities and more.

Attorney General Ashley Moody recently oversaw the launch of a recruitment website for state law enforcement agencies,

“I think as to law enforcement and prosecutors we’re seeing a need to step up and recruit and refer and make potential job seekers aware of our areas,” Moody said. “We have some talented people who are career prosecutors but there are a lot of talented attorneys out there. I started out as a private attorney before making the switch.”

Laying the groundwork for a growing and improving workforce will pay dividends as the state, circuits, counties, and municipalities continue work toward making communities safer.

“We think these are very noble and important positions that allow someone to be a part of their community and in making them safer and better places to live,” Moody said.

On Monday Moody said the focus right now is on the types of crimes occurring here that share commonalities with other areas of the state so resources can be pooled, like the opioid epidemic and the growing number of overdose deaths from fentanyl.

“As we see the gross amount of illegal fentanyl flooding our country and state, it’s important that our law enforcement and prosecutors focus on those drugs,” Moody said, noting that the Bay County Sheriff’s Office has made arrests for people who supplied the drugs that led to overdose deaths and that the State Attorney’s Office is prosecuting them.

Basford agreed and noted a case Sheriff Tommy Ford’s office investigated that resulted with the successful prosecution of a drug dealer earlier this year.

Moody is no stranger to Bay County or area prosecutors, saying she has a fondness for the area.

“My mom grew up here, I’ve been coming here since I was an infant,” she said. “Bay County holds a very special place in my heart.”

For additional information contact Mike Cazalas at or (850) 381-7454.