NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — We’ve witnessed the heartbreaking scenes play out before our very eyes. We’ve watched in horror as brave members of law enforcement have become targets, gunned down in the process of doing their jobs. Families of police officers and deputies have experienced an immeasurable amount of heartache in recent weeks
“When they kiss their loved ones goodbye to start their shift, they don’t know if they’re coming home or not,” said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.
Crime fighting agencies across the country are operating under a heightened sense of security. Those on the front lines face exponential threat levels 24-7. In each city and county around the United States, every step is being taken to protect the men and women of law-enforcement who wear the badge. Now, there is an added layer of law-enforcement here at home in Pasco County, protecting deputies by giving them every bit of background information as possible.
When 911 calls come in, dispatchers have a crucial task to perform. They are the brave behind-the-scenes eyes and ears for officers who are rushing to a crime scene. Now, they’re getting extra backup from Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco. He wanted to do anything and everything he could to offer additional protection to the men and women in his agency. So, he created what he calls a “real-time crime center.”
“Getting information to the deputies, those in the front line, as much as possible makes them safer. We know this is working well in other cities. We’re going to try it here,” Sheriff Nocco told WFLA during an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
“Our analysts know the streets just as well as our deputies do because they’re the ones providing the information to hunt down these criminals.”
So, what better way, he thought, to beef up the 911 call center than to add a team of eight to ten crime analysts from the sheriff’s office, giving a big time boost to the dispatchers working hard to save lives every day.
“Our crime analysts can send information to the deputy and give them a heads up to be careful, this is what is going on out there. It is information to save the lives of these deputies,” said Sheriff Nocco.
For example, if a 911 call is received and deputies are dispatched, the team of crime analysts will then begin to dig deeper into details of the history of that location. Have deputies visited that area before? Is there a history of violent crime there? Are there people associated with that particular location that have been arrested before or convicted of felonies?
If a dangerous individual is threatening people, crime analysts can run a background check on that person to see if he or she has been arrested before, Baker Acted, or has been visited by law-enforcement on other occasions.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office staff saw quick success with the new approach within the first few hours it was implemented on Wednesday morning.
“We also want the public to be alert and involved. Please provide us with information. What you may think it’s insignificant may be the difference between life and death for a deputy,” Sheriff Nocco said.
“We’re getting a lot of things, suicide by cop statements now, where they’re saying they want to [die by way of] suicide by cop. We’re starting to see these things happening. We need the public’s help in gathering information,” he added.
The team of analysts is in place right now assisting 911 dispatchers. “We are going to try this out and see how it works. I have a feeling it is going to be successful, as it has been in other cities,” Sheriff Nocco told WFLA.
“It is one more way to keep our citizens and our law-enforcement safe.”