Back on the job: Former undersheriff Storrar still making a difference with fusion center

After more than 35 years in law enforcement, most cops would be looking for a little rest and relaxation.

Not so for Tom Storrar, Collier County’s former undersheriff.

Slated to retire at the end of June, Storrar, 62, who started with the Sheriff’s Office in April 1972, is now heading up a new initiative that could benefit residents across Southwest Florida, well beyond Collier’s borders.

“I’ve got things to do,” Storrar said. “I’m not ready to quit working.”

Prior to being tapped for the undersheriff role in 2008, Storrar spent years heading up the Sheriff’s Office’s homeland security operations and coordinating a regional domestic security task force. In January, after Sheriff Kevin Rambosk was sworn in, Storrar returned to that role with the understanding that he would be retiring six months later.

However, one of the projects Storrar was working on — a proposed 10-county regional “fusion center” — needed a full-time leader. Rambosk said he asked E.J. Picolo, special agent in charge for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, for his suggestion. Picolo said there was only one man for the job — Storrar.

“He’s been very engaged with this entire process,” Picolo said. “He has those contacts. He knows the players statewide.”

Storrar was named director of the fusion center in June, before he took a three-month leave of absence. He returned on Oct. 1.

On target to be operational by March, the fusion center will be a public safety informational hub for the following 10 counties: Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Sarasota, Glades, DeSoto, Highlands, Manatee, and Okeechobee. Besides connecting the counties, the center will also connect to other fusion centers across the state and the country.

“That’s what this is all about, connecting law enforcement throughout the region, state and the nation,” Rambosk said.

As fusion center director, Storrar no longer has the rank of captain, and is now officially just a deputy. He also took a pay cut from $130,418 to $80,206, part of which is funded by a Department of Homeland Security grant. In 1998, Storrar entered Florida’s Deferred Retirement Option Program, which is a voluntary way for employees to retire and begin accumulating retirement benefits while they keep working for up to five years.

With his new role, Storrar said he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

“I guess I’m of the ilk that I want to make a little bit of difference in the quality of life, not only in Collier, but in the whole region,” Storrar said. “I want to work, whether it’s at this job or any job, I want to work as long as I’m able, as long as I’m productive, as long as the entity that I work for values the contributions that I make.”

Connect with Ryan Mills at www.naplesnews.com/staff/ryan_mills

Connect with Ryan Mills at www.naplesnews.com/staff/ryan_mills

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Comments » 1

straighttalker writes:

"Storrar said he’s not going anywhere anytime soon"

Let's see now, a full pension based on a salary of $130,000 per year and a current paycheck for $80,000 a year. I guest I wouldn't go anywhere either. Not to mention his need to keep his son out of trouble. Whatever happened to that case?

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