Community Safety

Safety Programs


Do it Yourself Home/Business Security Audit

When is the last time you checked around your home or business to make it more difficult to be victimized by a burglary? The Pasco Sheriff’s Office encourages citizens to periodically conduct a survey at their home or business to make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent becoming a victim. In that effort, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office has released a do-it-yourself video that will give citizens tips on reducing the risk of being victimized by a burglary. Citizens are encouraged to review the video and download a home/business security checklist that provides a number of tips on how to improve the safety and security in and around your home or business. Many of the tips are common sense but we encourage citizens to look at the video. Homeowners and renters alike can look at the material from the comfort of their own home, on their own timetable and improve their own security. The PSO Home/Business Security Audit video can be seen at the Pasco Sheriff’s Office official YouTube channel.

Download the checklist of the Home/Business Security Audit.

Child Fingerprinting/DNA Kits

Free child fingerprinting/DNA kits are available for residents of Pasco County at various special events and community events attended by members of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office Community Relations Unit. These kits are kept by parents and guardians for safekeeping until needed by law enforcement personnel.


Adult First Aid/CPR/AED Ready Reference

To view the guide click the link: Adult First Aid/CPR/AED Ready Reference.


Vacation House Check

If manpower is available, members of the Citizen Service Unit will make regular security checks on homes when residents are on vacation.


Speed Trailer

A limited number of speed trailers are available upon request to be placed in your neighborhood for a limited amount of time. These trailers show drivers what the official speed limit is and how fast they are traveling.

For more information about the following services, please contact the Citizen Support Services Unit at 1-800-854-2862, extension 7757

Boating Safety


Quick Tips

  • Enroll in a boater education class
  • Develop a float plan
  • Watch the weather
  • Prepare for a boat fire
  • Always wear a life jacket
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Be especially careful on personal watercrafts
  • In Florida, children younger than age 6 must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket while underway
  • Don’t overload your boat
  • Operate at a safe speed
  • Always have a passenger serve as a lookout in addition to the operator
  • Watch out for low water areas or submerged objects
  • Boating Theft Flyer.
  • Boating Safety Tips Video


Give a responsible person details about where you will be and how long you will be gone. This is important in case your boat is delayed because of an emergency, becomes lost, or encounters other problems. Make sure they have a complete description of the vessel and other information that will make identification easier.
Check weather warnings and forecasts before leaving shore and while at sea. Remain watchful for signs of bad weather and listen to weather radio broadcasts on your VHF radio. According to the NSBC, usually when you see dark, fast moving clouds headed your way, it’s too late to head for a safe location if you are out in the open water. Having knowledge of the larger weather picture and knowing exactly what to do when these sudden storms appear could help you have a safer journey.
Most boat fires can be put out rapidly if you act immediately. Having a fully charged fire extinguisher on hand is vital. Take the time to make sure that you and those who boat with you regularly know and understand exactly how to use the fire extinguisher. To prevent boat fires take the following precautions: clean bilges often and maintain proper gear stowage; make sure short-tie cables are properly connected; place oily rags in covered trash cans or dispose of them on shore; and store propane fuel for stoves in a secure area. Contact your local fire department for further fire prevention measures.

Always wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or life jacket

Most boating fatality victims were found (recovered) NOT wearing a PFD.
Always carry extra PFD’s in both adult and child sizes.
In Florida, children younger than 6 years old must wear a PFD while underway unless the boat is larger than 26 feet long.

Avoid alcohol

The probability of being killed in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved.
Operating a boat under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car after you’ve been drinking.
Boating while intoxicated (BWI) is strictly enforced and carries penalties similar to driving while intoxicated penalties, including possible Driver’s License suspension.
Anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 must have a Boating Safety Education ID Card to legally operate a vessel with a motor of 10 horsepower or greater (including PWCs), in Florida .
It’s a good idea for the whole family to enroll in a boater education course.
A majority (52%) vessels involved in boating accidents are operated by persons 26- 50 years of age.

Be especially careful on personal watercraft (PWC)

PWC operators and passengers must wear a life jacket.
Before you borrow or rent a PWC, take the time to learn how to operate the vessel and the rules of the waterway.
Maintain a safe distance from other PWC’s, vessels, persons, shore, or stationary platform or other object unless operating at headway (idle) speed.

Operate at a safe speed

Citations may be issued for excessive speed or reckless operation. Use common sense, and operate at a safe speed at all times — especially in crowded areas.
Excessive speed is a rate of speed greater than is reasonable or prudent without regard for conditions and hazards or greater than will permit a person to bring the boat to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.

Pack a first aid kit

Your kit can prove invaluable if you or a member of your group is injured. Pack antiseptics for cuts and scrapes, tweezers, insect repellent, pain relievers, and sunscreen.

Bring emergency supplies

For long boating trips, in addition to a first aid kit, it is prudent to bring a map, compass, flashlight, knife, waterproof fire starter, personal shelter, whistle, warm clothing, high energy food, and water.
Impaired Driving

The Selective Traffic Enforcement Patrol Unit (S.T.E.P.) The S.T.E.P. Unit is part of the Traffic Enforcement Section of the Sheriff’s Office which also contains the Motor Unit. The S.T.E.P. Unit uses six deputies to actively enforce traffic laws in Pasco County mainly during the nighttime hours which have a higher rate or alcohol and/or drug related crashes. The unit’s goal is to reduce the collisions involving alcohol and narcotics. The unit’s main function is the detection and apprehension of drivers who are suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. All of the members have received additional training on the detection and apprehension of DUI drivers. The Traffic Enforcement Section also provides additional support to other Sheriff’s Office Divisions and local law enforcement agencies during major events and calls for service.

Saturation Patrols / Wolf Packs

By using a data driven approach specific areas that have been identified as high crash locations are selected for saturation patrols which are also known as Wolf packs. The STEP Unit aggressively patrol these areas to locate and arrest impaired drivers. Wolf Pack operations may be conducted at any time or place with or without prior warning.

Sobriety Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints are an effective law enforcement tool involving the stopping of a specific sequence of vehicles, at a predetermined fixed location to detect impaired drivers. These operations not only serve as a specific deterrent by arresting impaired drivers who pass through the checkpoints, but more importantly, as a general deterrent to persons who have knowledge of the operation. Local law enforcement agencies and the Florida Highway Patrol participate in regular DUI Checkpoints.



Implied Consent

If you drive impaired either by alcohol or drugs you dramatically increase your chance of being in a crash. In addition, if you are pulled over and the officer asks you to take a blood, urine or breath test you are required to comply. Florida has the “Implied Consent Law”. When you sign your driver’s license you have agreed to take these tests upon request. Refusal to take any of the tests may result in an immediate suspension for one year. A second refusal may result in an 18 month suspension.

Ignition Interlock

Florida law mandates that any driver convicted of a second DUI have an Ignition Interlock device installed in their vehicle. A judge may order an Interlock installed on first convictions depending on circumstances. No one can drink alcohol and still drive safely. Drinking and driving causes accidents and deaths every day and therefore the penalties in Florida are very tough. If you drink and drive the result may be jail time, loss of your Florida driver’s license, heavy fines, and much higher auto insurance rates. And a conviction will stay on your Florida driving record for 75 years.

Zero Tolerance for Drivers under 21

Florida has a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that any driver under 21 that is stopped by law enforcement and has a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have their Florida driver’s license suspended for 6 months. The .02 limit really means that you cannot have a single drink and drive. And that’s the idea. For drivers over 21 the legal limit in Florida is .08. Regardless of your age be aware that impaired driving is considered a serious offense. The average cost including legal defense fees, fines, and insurance increases is $8000 or more.

Fine Schedule s. 316.193(2)(a)-(b), F.S.

First Conviction: Not less than $500, or more than $1,000. With Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000. Second Conviction: Not less than $1,000, or more than $2,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $2,000, or more than $4,000. Third Conviction More than 10 years from second: Not less than $2,000, or more than $5,000. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not less than $4,000. Fourth or Subsequent Conviction: Not less than $2,000.

Community Service – s. 316.193 (6)(a), F.S.

First Conviction: Mandatory 50 hours of community service or additional fine of $10 for each hour of community service required.

Probation – s. 316.193 (5)(6), F.S.

First Conviction: total period of probation and incarceration may not exceed 1 year

Imprisonment- s. 316.193 (2)(a) 2, 4(b), (6)(j),F.S.

At court’s discretion, sentencing terms may be served in a residential alcoholism or drug abuse treatment program, credited toward term of imprisonment.

First Conviction: Not more than 6 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 9 months.
Second Conviction: Not more than 9 months. With BAL of .15 or higher or minor in the vehicle: Not more than 12 months. If second conviction within 5 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 10 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.
Third Conviction: If third conviction within 10 years, mandatory imprisonment of at least 30 days. At least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive. If third conviction more than 10 years, imprisonment for not more than 12 months.
Fourth Conviction: Not more than 5 years or as provided in s.775.084, Florida Statutes, as habitual/violent offender. Injuries and deaths resulting from people operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs are one of the most preventable tragedies in our society today.

Although impaired driving is a societal problem, law enforcement agencies are often the last line of defense when it comes to preventing the worst from happening. We, however, cannot do it alone. It is not possible to catch every driver under the influence who may be on the road at any given moment. The Florida Legislature has toughened DUI laws over the years, which has helped to reduce the number of first-time and repeat offenders. Cultural awareness of the problem has also helped. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving have helped to spread the word about lives ended too soon due to someone’s decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or drugs. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office regularly works with students in schools and with other community organizations to raise awareness to the consequences of impaired driving.
The Enhancement Section will be paying special attention to traffic violations in these areas based upon citizen complaints, traffic crash statistics, and speed studies.*

*Locations subject to change without notice

Crime Prevention


Crime Prevention and Safety Awareness

Additional Information can be found at the National Crime Prevention Council website.


Click Online Resources card, which provides useful information to view law enforcement activity in your neighborhood.


Click Car Burglary prevention Card which provides useful information about Vehicle Burglary Prevention.

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office is committed to child and infant safety and provides the following links as a starting point for parents and guardians to learn about the many dangers facing our smallest loved ones and how we can protect them.


If you suspect child abuse or child neglect for any child in Florida, please contact the Florida Abuse Hotline, at (800) 962-2873 or TDD (800) 453-5145. If you see a child in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

Child & Teen Safety to download the Child and Teen Safety Booklet What you can do to protect your child(ren) by teaching them important safety lessons, please click Protect Your Child
If your child(ren) can stay home alone, to find some personal safety tips, please click Safety Tips
For Internet and computer safety tips, please click Internet & Computer Safety Tips
For information on keeping infants safe, please click Infant Safety

For information on how to stop bullying, please click Stopbullying.gov

ALL FAMILIES AND CHILDREN EXPERIENCE CRISIS

Sometimes one or more crises may be going on at the same time within families. Families may be able to handle and resolve most of these problems quickly. However, sometimes families have problems that push them to the limit. These problems might include a child who often skips or misses school, runs away from home or threatens to and/or will not follow any directions and is beyond parental control.

THERE IS HELP FOR YOUR FAMILY

The Florida Legislature passed a law (now Chapter 984, F.S.) that provides help to families and children who need services to improve the behaviors on the part of the child, help the family to move beyond crisis and prevent further problems. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) funds and supports these problems to keep kids out of serious trouble.

CINS/FINS

The services under the law are called A Child In Need of Services(CINS). CINS is a child who has been found by the court to be a runaway, habitually (often) truant, or ungovernable (does not obey you). A Family In Need of Services(FINS) is the term used for a family that has a child who is displaying any of the problem behaviors above as outlined in the law.

LOCAL PROGRAMS MAY PROVIDE SOLUTIONS

There are local programs that can help you find ways to reduce or stop these kinds of behaviors. Most of the time families can get services in their homes or at a local program. Some solutions require families to go to court, but only as a last resort. In Florida, as a parent, you are responsible for your children and cannot deny them food, clothing, medical care or shelter. If your child often skips school (is truant), you must first work with the school and use available school resources through your local CINS program.


STEPS TO GET THE HELP YOU NEED

CALL TOLL-FREE (1-800-RUNAWAY) 800-786-2929. A trained and experienced counselor can answer your questions and direct you and your child to the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services program nearest to you; OR call the program nearest to your home.

ANSWER the counselor’s questions so that it can be determined if your child can get the services offered through this law.
You child cannot have an open delinquency case with the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and cannot be under the supervision of the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
TELL your story so that the counselor can understand the situation. This will help the counselor see that you get the right kind of help at the right place.
LISTEN to the suggestions and directions for getting help.
ASK questions if you do not understand.
FOLLOW-UP by going to the CINS/FINS program in your area and by making the appointments or phone calls suggested to you.
CONTINUE to work with your local CINS/FINS program and school to improve the situation.

SERVICES OFFERED BY LOCAL PROGRAMS

Screening and Assessment

Screening is the beginning of gathering of information about you and your child that helps decide if you are eligible to receive CINS/FINS services. You will be asked questions. You are not eligible for/cannot get services if your child is currently under supervision for delinquency or dependency (DCF). Assessment is the further review and evaluation of the information you give to help you and your child get the right services.

Planning for Improvement/Service Plan

Your counselor will work with you, your child and others to write a plan that fits you and your child’s needs and goals, the things that will need to be done and the time it will take to finish them.

Residential Shelter

If you and your child need a break from each other, your CINS/FINS counselor may suggest that your child go to your local shelter for “time-out.” They will provide safe shelter, food, clothing, and counseling (if necessary), to your child. This short time-out will give you and your child a chance to “cool off” so that work can begin on family issues. The shelter may offer other services that will be explained to you and your child during the intake phase.

Case Management

Case Management is the coordinating and monitoring of services provided to you and your child.

Referral Service

Your local CINS/FINS programs can refer you to other agencies in your community that may be able to help you and your child.

Case Staffing Committee

A Case Staffing Committee is made up of people from the CINS/FINS programs, schools, other social service agencies and you. The committee may include a representative from the State Attorney’s office or the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) attorney. The purpose of this “staffing” is to review your child’s case and the first service plan developed by you, your child and the CINS/FINS program. If too little or no progress has been made, the plan can be changed. The Case Staffing Committee will meet with you and your child if:

  • you or child do not agree with the services or treatment offered;
  • you or your child are not doing your part or taking part in the services or help;
  • the local program needs help in developing a better plan for you and your child.

You, the parent(s), may ask the local program to hold a case staffing. Your request must be in writing. Please talk to your CINS/FINS counselor before you ask for a case staffing to be scheduled.
If you ask for a case staffing in writing, it must be scheduled within 7 days after the program receives your written request. This 7-day period does not include holidays or weekends.

OPTIONS WITH THE JUVENILE COURT

CINS Petition:A CINS Petition is a written request to the court to find that your child is a CINS(Child-In-Need-of-Services). A CINS Petition is usually filed if the child refuses services or continues to exhibit problem behaviors. The Case Staffing Committee could recommend that a CINS Petition be filed in court. Sometimes going to court may be the best way to deal with your problems. Going to court is the last resort. The local DJJ attorney will file a CINS Petition, if recommended by the Case Staffing Committee. Either at the case staffing or within 7 days of the case staffing, the Case Staffing Committee will send you another plan. This plan will state if filing of a petition to the court is or is not going to happen.
If you, as a parent, do not participate, do not allow your child to participate, or you allow your child to ignore the services in this plan, you may be taken to court and a judge may:

  • order you to go to family counseling and other programs
  • order you to complete community service,
  • order you to pay a fine.

You, as a parent or legal guardian, can also file a CINS petition with the court if:

  • The local program will not hold a case staffing,
  • The local program does not schedule a case staffing within 7 days of receiving your written request,
  • You do not agree with the service plan made by the Case Staffing Committee
  • The local program has not given you a report of the reason to recommend or decline a petition within 7 days after the case staffing.

If you wish to file your own CINS petition, the law requires that you let the local DJJ attorney know in writing of your wish to file a petition.

In your CINS petition, you must show that you have participated in or tried all the types of help that have been offered and that none of them helped you and your child with your problem. If a judge decides that your child is a CINS, the court will have oversight of your child and your family. The judge may:

  • place your child under the supervision of the local program
  • place your child in temporary legal custody of another adult willing to care for him or her
  • place your child with a child care agency that is willing to care for him or her at no cost
  • order your child or you to complete community service hours
  • order your child to be placed in a Staff-Secure CINS Shelter for up to 90 days. While in the Staff-Secure Shelter, you must participate in all efforts to keep the family together. If at the end of the placement, the family is not reunited, your child will be referred to the Department of Children and Families as a dependent child. Or, if your child continues not to obey the court, he or she may be ordered to a locked placement
  • if the court finds that your child needs special services, your child will be referred to the Department of Children and Families
  • fine you or your child
  • order you or your child to participate in counseling
  • order other actions as the court finds necessary

LOCAL CINS/FINS AGENCY:

Youth and Family Alternatives

New Port Richey:(727) 835-1777

Brooksville:(352) 540-6015

Bartow:(863) 595-0220


HOTLINES:

Runaway Hotline: 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929)

Child Abuse Hotline:1-800-962-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873)

Missing Children Information Clearinghouse:1-888-FL-MISSING (1-888-356-4774)


WEBSITES:

Florida Network of Youth & Family Services

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

Florida Department of Children & Families


The content of this page was developed through a contractual agreement between the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, Inc. Tallahassee, Florida.

Buckle Up … It’s the Law!

Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death and injury among young children, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Each year, hundreds of young lives could be saved and thousands of injuries prevented in children who were correctly protected while riding in cars.

Don’t Text and Drive!

Texting while driving is against the law in Florida, but you should be aware that any distractions while driving can be dangerous and even life-threatening! This includes eating, talking on the phone, or conversing with someone in your car so intensely to the extent that your attention is diverted away from the road and its constantly changing environment.

Child Restraint Requirements

All front seat occupants must buckle up, even if the vehicle is equipped with an air bag. The driver is held responsible for passengers 15 years or younger who are not buckled up. Passengers 16 years or older can be individually fined if they are not buckled up.
All children under six years of age must be buckled up, no matter where they are sitting in the vehicle.
The law applies to all cars, pickup trucks and vans operated on Florida roads.
Children through the age of three must be secured in a federally-approved child restraint seat or safety belt.

Basic Facts About Auto Theft

In 2012, 596 motor vehicles were stolen in the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office’s jurisdiction (not including the city police jurisdictions). When leaving your car, close the windows, lock the doors and take your keys with you. About half of all vehicle thefts occur in residential neighborhoods. If you have a garage, use it! Lock the vehicle and the garage door. If you don’t have a garage, lock the car and turn the wheels to the left or right. This makes a thief’s job harder. About one-third of vehicle thefts occur after dark. Park in well-lighted areas. If you park in an attended lot or garage, leave only the ignition key with the attendant and do not tell the attendant how long you will be gone.

In 2012, 1,541 thefts occurred from motor vehicles in Pasco County Sheriff’s Office’s jurisdiction. It’s hard to believe, but 66 percent of these burglaries occurred in unlocked vehicles! One of every five larcenies involves the theft of motor vehicle accessories. In the majority of motor vehicle thefts, the victim left valuables in plain view within the vehicle.
Always remove portable electronics such as GP devices, MP3 players, and similar items before leaving the vehicle. Secure all packages in a trunk or under a seat and out of view. Consider investing in an alarm system rather than expensive options. Professional car thieves can strip your vehicle completely within minutes. Engrave your driver license number in a remote location on the radio and accessories, as well as the fenders and doors. If a theft occurs, your driver license number will make identification recovery and prosecution more likely.

The longer it takes to steal a car, the more likely a thief will look elsewhere. Automobile manufacturers regularly improve the anti-theft equipment they install in vehicles. You may want to consider an anti-theft bar that attaches to your steering wheel, an alarm system or other equipment that will slow down a thief and better protect your vehicle.

How You Can Help Prevent Auto Theft:

  • Join your Neighborhood Crime Watch
  • Ensure that your civic association regularly addresses prevention of auto theft
  • Schedule an Auto Theft Prevention presentation from the Sheriff’s Office
  • Law enforcement officers need your help and cooperation in locating stolen vehicles. Stolen vehicles are often abandoned on city streets, side roadways, and in parking lots.

Some signs of a stolen vehicle include:

  • Flat tires
  • Expired or missing license plate
  • Dust or debris on the windshield
  • Missing wheels, lights or radio
  • Trunk or hood left open
  • Interior stripped or motor missing

If you see a vehicle that has any of the above signs, notify the Sheriff’s Office or local law enforcement agency and provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • Exact location of the vehicle
  • Make, model and color of the vehicle
  • License plate number and state, or the vehicle identification number, which can be seen at the bottom of the windshield on the driver’s side

DO NOT open the doors or get inside the vehicle. You could destroy fingerprints or other evidence proving it has been stolen or used in another crime!

Protect Your Home

  • When you leave home, even for a few minutes, make sure that all doors and windows are locked.
  • Make sure all locks on doors and windows are in working order.
  • Dead bolt door locks are recommended and should, when in the locked position, slide into the door jam a minimum of one inch.
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked, whether you are home or not. An open garage provides a burglar with all the tools he will need to break into your home.
  • Keep a list and photos or a video of your possessions, including the model and serial number, description and value
  • Observe carefully and report all suspicious persons and vehicles. Be sure to get the correct license numbers of suspect vehicles.
  • Report any crime to the Sheriff’s Office at once and be willing to testify in court.
  • Cooperate with officers investigating an offense in your neighborhood.
  • Keep valuable stamp, jewelry and coin collections in a safe deposit box rather than at home.
  • Trim your shrubbery around doors and windows so it will not provide a hiding place for burglars or cover a point-of-entry view for police or neighbors.
  • Keep all your vehicles locked and do not leave property in your vehicle.
  • Do not leave property unattended in your yard, including lawn mowers, garden tools, and bicycles.
  • Be cautious of strangers. A burglar rarely looks like a burglar. When in doubt, call the Sheriff’s Office.
  • When you are out in the yard, lock the doors. Daylight burglaries while people are at home are common.
  • Never admit anyone into your home unless you know him or her. Demand credentials before admitting salesmen or repairmen, particularly if you have not requested their services. Refuse to deal with any caller who does not present proper ID and notify the Sheriff’s Office immediately.
  • Never leave notes on your door informing anyone you are not home. Do not hide your keys outside of your home. Burglars know where to look.
  • When you leave town, arrange for someone to mow your yard and pick up your mail and newspapers. If possible, set timers to switch the lights on and off at predetermined times and locations within the house. A residence that presents a lived-in appearance is a deterrent to burglars. Leave information on your whereabouts with a trusted neighbor. Ask them to watch your house.
  • Be sure all gates are securely locked.
  • Be careful about posting information about your daily routine, new purchases, or vacation plans on Facebook and other social media sites. Crooks do check these sites for information and your address is easier to pinpoint than you think.

Join or create a Neighborhood Watch Program. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office can assist you. Please contact the Community Relations Unit for more information, at 727-844-7759.

Tax Fraud: Per the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit, tax fraud victims do not need to report these occurrences to local law enforcement. Instead, they should complete and submit Identity Theft Affidavit (IRS form 14039) which can be accessed online at IRS

Tax Fraud Information: Brochure

Tax Fraud Affidavit: Identity Theft Affidavit

Identity Theft Kit: Identity Theft Guide

Juvenile Choices


Juvenile Choice

A Program Geared to Help Teens Make the RIGHT choice.

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office is proud to offer the Juvenile Choice program. This program is geared toward teens and demonstrates what can happen when the wrong choices in life are made.
Cpl. Ron Gardner and Deputy Tim Bullock worked closely with the inmates and developed the presentation. “We hope to reach 4,000 teens with this program,” said Cpl. Ron Gardner. “The messages of the inmates are very compelling and they talk about the bad choices they made and how they ended up behind bars.”
The program also talks about the dangers of prescription drugs and how that can lead to a life of crime. “I am excited to see this program and think it will have a positive impact on our youth in Pasco County,” said Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco. “The prescription drug epidemic is just one cause that can destroy someone’s life and lead to a life of crime. I hope our youth get a chance to see this positive message and choose good decisions in their lives.”
The Juvenile Choice Program is an hour-long power point presentation that shows stories of inmates and how students can make better choices in life. The program features recorded presentations from four inmates who talk about their choices that left them behind bars.
The Juvenile Choice Program presentation will also be shown to juveniles participating in the court mandated monthly Juvenile Arbitration program at Pasco Safety Town. In an effort to reach out to as many youth as possible, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office is working with the Pasco County Schools, YMCA, The United Way of Pasco County, Boys and Girls Club of Pasco County.

Citizens who would like to request a speaker regarding this program can go to the following link:
Schedule PSO

Watch
Interested in Neighborhood Watch?
  • Additional information can be found by downloading the Neighborhood Watch Informational Card for those citizens interested in starting a watch in their community, or the Neighborhood Watch Responsibilities for those already in a program.
  • For a Neighborhood Watch form regarding knowing your neighbor, please Know Your Neighbor.
  • For a Neighborhood Watch form regarding vehicle burglaries, please Suspect Vehicle sheet.
  • Interesting information about the geography of a neighborhood and how this can affect crime, please visit National Institute of Justice website.
  • If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch in your area, please contact: Dep. Ron Buzzetto at rbuzzetto@pascosheriff.org
Domestic Violence
Stand Against Domestic Violence1
Stand Against Domestic Violence2

Click Sheriff’s Auxiliary Aids Plan To view the auxiliary and aid plans.

Pasco Sheriff’s Office personnel are committed to protecting you! NO ONE, not even someone that you live with or that you love, has the right to hit you, threaten you with violence or emotional abuse! If someone is abusing you, you can take action!
Knowing your legal rights and other options is the first step toward ending the abuse. Call the Pasco Sheriff’s Office toll free at 1-800-854-2862.
The Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team (InVEST) consists of a detective and domestic violence shelter advocate who work together to identify victims of domestic and dating violence at high risk for homicide. The team offers enhanced services to survivors of intimate partner violence and monitors offenders.

InVEST Project

Is Your Relationship Abusive?

Does your partner or family member abuse you in any of these ways?

Physical Abuse Sexual Abuse Emotional Abuse
  • Push or shove you
  • Hold you to keep you from leaving
  • Slap, bite, kick or choke you
  • Hit or punch you
  • Throw objects at you
  • Abandon you in dangerous places
  • Force you to have sex
  • Criticize your sexual performance
  • Force you to do sex acts you don’t like
  • Deny you sex
  • Ignore your feelings
  • Insult your beliefs, religion, race, heritage or sex
  • Withhold affections as punishment
  • Insult your family or friends
  • Humiliate you
  • Display obsessive jealousy
  • Isolate you from family or friends
  • Destructive Acts
  • Break furniture, flood rooms, ransack or dump garbage in your house
  • Slash tires, break windows, steal or tamper with parts of your car
  • Abuse or kill pets to punish or frighten you
  • Destroy clothing, jewelry, family photos or other personal items that are important to you

Domestic Violence Safety


  • If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area that has access to an exit and not in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons
  • Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be best
  • Have a packed bag ready and keep it in an undisclosed but accessible place in order to leave quickly
  • Identify a neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from you home
  • Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police
  • Use you own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he or she wants to calm them down.
  • You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger
  • Always remember — You don’t deserve to be hit or threatened!
  • Destructive Acts
  • Break furniture, flood rooms, ransack or dump garbage in your house
  • Slash tires, break windows, steal or tamper with parts of your car
  • Abuse or kill pets to punish or frighten you
  • Destroy clothing, jewelry, family photos or other personal items that are important to you

  • Open a savings account in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence
  • Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly
  • Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money
  • Keep the Shelter Helpline phone number close at hand at all times. West Pasco — (727) 856- 5797; East Pasco — (352) 521-3120
  • Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to devise the safest way to leave your batterer.
  • Remember — Leaving your abuser is the most dangerous time!

  • Continue to keep the Shelter Helpline phone number close at hand at all times
  • Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows
  • Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them
  • Inform your children’s school, day care, etc., about who has permission to pick up your children
  • Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see him or her near your home
  • In rural areas where only the mailbox may be visible from the street, paint the box a bright color so that law enforcement can more easily locate the home.
  • Change all banking passwords; change voice mail password; If there are pending criminal charges, register with the Vine Protective Order to be notified immediately when the restraining order is served, hearings will be held, and when the abuser is released from jail. Contact the Vine Link (877) 846-3435 at vinelink.com.
  • Be aware of GPS technology that can track movement through cell phone or automobile

  • Keep your protective order on your person at all times!
  • Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order
  • Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police cannot respond right away
  • Inform family, friends and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect.

  • Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security. Provide a picture of your batterer if possible
  • Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls if possible
  • Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your car, bus or train. Use a variety of routes to go home if possible.
  • Think about what you would do if something happened on your way home while in your car, on the bus, etc.

  • If you are thinking about returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust
  • If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so
  • Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs
  • Read books, articles, and poems to help you feel stronger
  • Decide with whom you can talk to freely and openly to give you support you need
  • Plan to attend a victim’s support group for at least two weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship
  • If you are a teen in a violent dating relationship, decide which friend, teacher, relative or police officer with whom you can talk.
  • Contact an advocate at the court to decide how to obtain a restraining order and make a safety plan for yourself

After an arrest for domestic violence has been made, the suspected abuser is brought before a judge at that is called a “first appearance hearing.” The judge will determine whether there was a legal basis for the arrest. If so, the judge will consider the seriousness of the crime, the suspect’s past criminal history and the suspect’s ties to the community. Based on these factors, the judge will either set a bond or release the suspect subject to certain conditions. Your input is very important to the judge. If you want your opinions heard about the release of the suspect please call the domestic violence advocate at (727) 844-7780. The court times vary, but your advocate can accompany you to this hearing, appear on your behalf if you are unable, and can provide you with the outcome of the hearing.


A person who has been arrested on domestic violence charges may be eligible to participate in the State Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence Diversion Program. This is a deferred prosecution treatment program available to some offenders upon approval of the State Attorney’s Office. Participants pay fees for processing and weekly group treatment sessions. Upon successful completion of the program, the case will be dismissed. You can call the State Attorney’s Office for details, at (727) 847-8158 for west Pasco, or (352) 521-4333 for east Pasco.


If the suspect is not eligible for the Diversion Program, the next court appearance will be in about 2-3 weeks at the arraignment. You do not need to be at this hearing unless you so choose. At the arraignment, the suspect will announce a plea. In some instances the judge may accept a “no-contest” plea or a “guilty” plea, and sentence the offender at this point. If the plea announced is “not guilty,” the next court appearance will be a pretrial approximately three weeks later. After the pre-trial, a trial date will be set. Your domestic violence advocate can keep you updated on the court schedules and the outcome at each stage, or will accompany you to court.


You have the right to go to court and file a petition requesting an injunction for protection from domestic violence which may include, but is not limited to, provisions which restrain the abuser from further acts of abuse; direct the abuser to leave your household; prevent the abuser from entering your residence, school, business, or place of employment; award you temporary custody of minor children; and direct the abuser to pay support to you and the minor children if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so.


We will assist you with filing a petition to obtain an injunction for protection. You can ask even if you cannot afford to pay court fees. The court clerk will help you complete the appropriate forms. Even if you have left your home, you can still apply for an injunction for protection. If you called law enforcement, and no arrest was made, a report will be filed with the State Attorney’s Office for review. An investigator will be contacting you, so it is important all agencies involved have a current address for you, or information on where you can be contacted, which will remain confidential.


After you file your petition, the judge can sign a temporary injunction, which can be obtained on the same day, without a hearing and without the abuser knowing first. A temporary injunction lasts for a stated period of time not to exceed 15 days and is given to you by the judge when you are in immediate danger of being hurt. A permanent injunction can go into effect later. This injunction is for a stated period of time not to exceed one year, unless extended by the court. The judge may want to hold a hearing before signing the permanent injunction.


A person who refuses to follow a judge’s order can be put in jail. If the abuser disobeys the judge’s order, contact the police or Sheriff’s Office and show them the certified copy of the injunction. In some cases the officer will arrest the abuser. Also, you can ask the judge to hold the abuser responsible for not following the judge’s order.

If you need help or have any questions:

Domestic and Sexual Violence Center of Pasco County

Domestic Violence Counselor

East Pasco: Sunrise (352) 521-3120

West Pasco: Salvation Army (727) 856-5797

United Way Helpline

First Call For Help

(727) 845-4357 or 1-877-828-8929

Diversion Coordinator at the State Attorney’s Office

(727) 847-8158

Clerk of the Circuit Court

(For domestic violence injunction applications)

West Pasco (727) 847-8176
East Pasco (352) 521-4517

Pasco Sheriff’s Office

EMERGENCIES: DIAL 9-1-1

1-800-854-2862

Victim Advocate Unit — (727) 844-7793

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Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that involves the exploitation of vulnerable persons for commercial sex, forced labor or involuntary servitude, plus the inability to extricate oneself from that situation. The trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to control the victim. Human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, just behind the illegal drug trade, netting billions of dollars worldwide annually.
There are over 20 million persons held in slavery in the world today, more than any other time in history. It is estimated between 500,000 and 2 million are trafficked annually worldwide with an estimated 15,000 to 18,000 being trafficked into the United States every year.
On a local scale, according to national human trafficking hotline tips and complaints, Florida ranks as third in the proliferation of human trafficking with the Tampa Bay area being second in the state.

  • Constantly accompanied by a controlling person or boss, not speaking on their own behalf.
  • Lack of control over personal schedule, money, identification or travel documents.
  • Transported to and from work, lives and works in the same place.
  • Debt owed to employer/crew leader, unable to leave job.
  • Bruises, depression, fear, overly submissive.

If you think you have come into contact with a victim of human trafficking in Pasco, Pinellas, or Hillsborough County area, call the National Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Additional information can be found on the Florida State Attorney General’s website: State Attorney.

Links
Polaris Project
Blue Campaign

Potential Partnership: National Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign and all Blue Campaign materials here: Campaign Resources

School Safety

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office and Pasco School’s personnel actively plan and train together to respond to any incidents at schools that could impact the safety and welfare of the children or school staff. This could be potential incidents or circumstances such as:

  1. Threats investigations
  2. Acts of violence
  3. Severe weather
  4. Other tragedies or natural disasters
  5. Law enforcement or emergency services activities in nearby communities. These include criminal or other unusual incidents in a nearby community that are NOT occurring on school property but have the potential to impact the safety of the campus. For example, law enforcement may be actively investigating a bank robbery or a critical incident near a school campus. In these situations, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office will alert schools to this incident and work with staff, school resource officers or safety guards to take precautionary measures to ensure campus safety.

You can keep up to date with what is going on near your child’s school as it pertains to safety, nearby incidents, or activations of our school’s crisis plan by following the Pasco Sheriff’s School Safety Page on FaceBook or by following us on Twitter @PSOSchoolSafety. You can also stay up to date by following the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and Pasco Schools on Facebook, or Following us on Twitter.

Social Media Resources

Facebook:Pasco Sheriff Safety

Twitter:@PSOSchoolSafety


ATP concepts to help keep them safe should the need ever arise. We refer to these principles as The ABC’s of School Safety!

“ABC” STANDS FOR: A. ALERT/AVOID – Escape
B. BARRICADE / LOCKDOWN
C. COUNTER (defend, distract, and look for another way to get to safety)

That is a great segway for us to talk a little about some of the different layers of the crisis plan to help allay concerns, and improve your understanding of what may be occurring on campus.

  • Alert Campus - An alert campus is initiated whenever officials become aware of suspicious persons or circumstances. “Alert Campus” is a heightened level of vigilance for staff and law enforcement and involves close communications about a perceived threat, or suspicious circumstances and for determining the most appropriate level of response warranted. “See Something, Say Something.” There is no disruption to students or instruction, and there is no immediate danger to the campus.
  • Controlled Campus - is implemented when there is a safety concern that requires a greater degree of control, but does NOT pose an IMMINENT DANGER. During a controlled campus, we strictly control access to the campus and student circulation. Disruption to instructional time is minimal. During a controlled campus parents and visitors are NOT allowed on campus.
  • ACTIVE THREAT PLAN (ATP) - The ATP is only activated when there is an incident occurring ON campus that creates an IMMEDIATE THREAT OF VIOLENCE or poses an IMMEDIATE DANGER to the safety and physical well being of students and staff. Students and staff have trained in classroom instruction and through age appropriate interactive drills to learn how to apply the ATP concepts to help keep them safe should the need ever arise. We refer to these principles as The ABC’s of School Safety!

Here are some other VERY IMPORTANT things to keep in mind during a crisis situation that prompts the activation of the Active Threat Plan at a school. These points and are designed to minimize confusion, and ensure the safety of our students and staff.

  1. Parents WILL NOT be allowed on campus for any reason and will be provided instruction as to a reunification location and time, if it becomes necessary to relocate children to another facility. This is to ensure the safety of the students and so a parent is not mistaken as a potential threat to the school.
  2. Parents will not be allowed on campus to pick up children for scheduled doctor’s appointments, or other routine activities until the ATP is deactivated and the campus is deemed safe.
  3. Allowing any interruption or unauthorized visitors during these occurrences will only cause confusion and delay the assessment of the potential threat and could jeopardize student safety.
  4. Do not call the school! The affected school during an occurrence will receive more phone calls than personnel will be able to answer. Staff’s primary focus will be on keeping your children safe, not answering phones! Emergency responders will also be calling to acquire information about the alleged incident and additional phone calls to the school could block the phone lines.
  5. Official information during these occurrences will be shared through official Pasco Sheriff’s Office and Pasco Schools safety page and social media sites. Sheriff and school officials will be working together to ensure this information has been confirmed as accurate. Other unofficial sources often confuse or add misinformation to situations that have not been confirmed. This includes your child calling you without having factual information or sharing unconfirmed rumors on social media.

Student safety and that of our teachers and staff are the utmost priority of The Pasco Sheriff’s Office and Pasco Schools. We work together to best ensure every child’s safety on campus, and we ask all parents and guardians to have patience and trust during these uncertain and often frightening situations.

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Transportation and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) all offer the following health and safety tips and encourages all to be cautious as students return to class. The beginning of the school year is a time when children are at increased risk of transportation-related injuries from pedestrian, bicycle, school bus, and motor vehicle crashes.

TRAVELING TO AND FROM SCHOOL

Review the basic rules with your youngster(s):

Walking to School

In neighborhoods with higher levels of traffic, consider starting a “walking school bus,” in which an adult accompanies a group of neighborhood children walking to school.

Make sure your child’s walk to a school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.

Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.

If your child is young or is walking to new school, walk with them the first week to make sure they know the route and can do it safely.

Bright colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.

Bike
  • Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
  • Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
  • Use appropriate hand signals.
  • Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
  • Wear bright color clothing to increase visibility.
  • Know the “rules of the road.”
School Bus
  • If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. If your child’s school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts, encourage the school to buy or lease buses with lap/shoulder belts.
  • Wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
  • Do not move around on the bus.
  • Check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street.
  • Make sure to always remain in clear view of the bus driver.
  • Children should always board and exit the bus at designated locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
Tips for Motorists
  • All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.
  • Do not text or talk on your cell phone while driving.
  • Slow down and obey all traffic laws and speed limits.
  • Be alert for school zones that have a reduced speed limit at designated times of the day.
  • Watch for school buses. Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate the school bus is stopping to load or unload children. State law requires you to stop.
  • Keep an eye out for children walking in the street, especially where there are no sidewalks.
  • Be alert for children playing and gathering near bus stops and for those who may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch for children walking or biking to school.
  • When driving in neighborhoods or school zones, watch for young people who may be in a hurry to get to or away from school and may not be thinking about getting there safely.
Tips for Parents
  • Be a good role model. Always buckle up in the car, always wear a helmet when biking, and always follow pedestrian safety rules. Don’t text or talk on your cell phone while driving.
  • Supervise young children as they are walking or biking to school or as they wait at the school bus stop.
  • Provide your children with bright clothing so motorists can easily see them.
  • If your child is under four years old and weighs less than 40 pounds, make sure the child is properly buckled up in a weight-appropriate child safety seat in the back seat. Children, ages 4 to 8, weighing over 40 pounds and measuring four feet nine inches or less should ride in a booster seat. In addition, safety experts advise that all children under the age of 12 should ride in the back seat.
  • Make sure that your teen driver understands and obeys all traffic laws. Discourage them from texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.
Tips for Students
  • Always buckle up when riding in a car. Be sure to remove your backpack before getting in the vehicle. Never buckle your safety belt with your backpack on.
  • Always ride in the back seat. It’s the safest place for young people.
  • Always wear a helmet and follow traffic safety rules when riding your bike.

Florida Statute 316.1895 section 10 states:

A person may not drive a vehicle on a roadway designated as a school zone at a speed greater than that posted in the school zone in accordance with this section. Violation of the speed limits established pursuant to this section must be cited as a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.

Fines for speeding in a school zone are doubled and can range from $154.00 – $454.00 along with 3 points on your driver’s license.

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office will be conducting enforcement efforts at school zones throughout the school year.

Statute 316.172 requires all drivers operating a vehicle on any road in the state, upon approaching any school bus which displays a stop signal, to bring their vehicle to a full stop while the bus is stopped. The vehicle cannot pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn. The only exceptions to this requirement is when a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction of the stopped school bus is on a divided roadway with an unpaved space of at least five feet, a raised median or a physical barrier. In these instances, the driver isn’t required to stop for the stopped school bus.


A violation for passing on the left side is a moving violation with a $269.00 fine and 3 points of your driver’s license. Passing on the right side where children load and unload is a mandatory court appearance