Citizens of Hillsborough County,
As Sheriff, I know well that citizen involvement is critical to ensuring that the people's views are heard, and integrated, into government decisions. In this section of the HCSO's website, you will find information on several critical public safety issues that will be decided this year in Tallahassee. I hope you will take the time to review this section and contact members of Hillsborough County's Local Legislative Delegation
to request their action on these important issues. If you would like to discuss these, or any other legislative issues affecting public safety, please feel free to contact my Legislative Liaison Lorelei Bowden at (813) 627-1051, or by e-mail at LBowden@hcso.tampa.fl.us
Thank you for your assistance to keep Hillsborough County a safe place to live and raise our families.
Sheriff David Gee
Sheriff David Gee’s Legislative Priorities for FY 2010/11
Submitted to the Hillsborough County Local Legislative Delegation December 17, 2009
Hillsborough Local Legislation Delegation.pdf
Florida House 2010 Appropriations
Impasse Legislation: As in each of the last two years, the Florida Sheriffs’ are asking legislators to support legislation that amends the definition of the "Legislative Body" in F.S. 447.403 (10) to explicitly state that Constitutional Officers are the “legislative body” for their respective Offices. Last year, this issue was put forth in Senate Bill 368, sponsored by Senator Steve Oelrich, and this year it has been sponsored by Senator Mike Fasano in SB 0610 and Representative Alan Hays in HB 0417. Specifically, Florida’s Sheriffs’ request legislative support in modifying F.S. 447.403(10) to clearly state that for resolution of a collective bargaining impasse, the Constitutional Officers, including Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections and Clerk of the Circuit Court, shall each be deemed to be the legislative body for their respective employees. In additional to having the unconditional support of the Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Florida Association of Counties has stated its support FOR this legislative change for the upcoming year, as well as each of the past two years. Going into more stringent economic conditions, more than ever, it is critical that Constitutional Officers remain empowered to utilize their constitutionally-given authority to manage their agencies’ operations in the most cost-effective manner possible, without the undue influence of unions or county governments who do not hold responsibility, or Constitutional authority for these operations. This issue is ranked # 1 by the Florida Sheriffs’ Association.
Sheriff Gee’s remaining three priorities regard the protection of children.
Juvenile Assessment Centers (JAC): Legislative support is sought to preserve the funding that is critical to maintaining the Hillsborough County Juvenile Assessment Center. Without the Juvenile Assessment Center, more children would be integrated into the adult criminal justice system, an action that will predispose many to future criminality. De-funding Hillsborough County’s Juvenile Assessment Center would literally undue one of the most significant advances Hillsborough County ever made in deterring juvenile crime and efficiently directing limited family services to where they have the greatest impact. Senator Crist, you and the others who developed Hillsborough County’s JAC truly created something that continues to make a difference to Hillsborough County’s children and families every day. A recent analysis by the Collins Center estimated that as many as 50% of juveniles pass onto the adult prison system. Florida’s JAC centers, in my opinion, offer the greatest opportunity to this reduce this percentage. The JAC centers in effect pay for themselves by reducing the need for prison beds, law enforcement and detention officers, and inmate hospital and cost of living care. Another way JAC centers are cost-effective is by minimizing the cost of deputy or officer time spent with the juvenile. If the JAC were closed, significant amounts of deputies’ time would be diverted from responding to calls for service, crime prevention and investigation, to merely serving as babysitters for arrested juveniles, while family members are tracked down and waited on. In the counties where there are JACS, officers spend an average processing time of 23 minutes per juvenile, as opposed to 5.7 hours spent with juveniles in counties without JACS. Without the JACs, the increased time directed to the processing of juvenile offenders would represent a very costly use of law enforcement officers. In addition to being cost-effective, JACs are an extremely critical, and efficient, means to identify our at-risk youth, and direct them and their families to Hillsborough County’s diverse social service programs. You will be hearing more on this point from Dr. Richard Denbow this afternoon. As the nation’s first Juvenile Assessment Center, Hillsborough County’s JAC has served as the model upon which all others were built. Please do all you can on behalf of Hillsborough County’s at-risk youth by fighting to preserve funding for Florida’s Juvenile Assessment Centers.
Child Protective Services: I request your support for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office fifth year of providing comprehensive Child Protective Investigations Services in Hillsborough County. Our request for FY 10/11 is $ 12.3 million. While this request is a $100,000 increase over last year, it is still $2 million dollars less than when the HCSO took over Child Protective Services in 2006. Although our funding has been cut each, and every, year, our medical and insurance costs have risen. However, we have been able to continue to provide services by dramatically reducing our average cost per investigation. This year, for the first time, we’ve succeeded in bringing the cost of each investigation below $900. Yet, even with these cost savings, our work continues to have greater positive impact. Our partnership efforts continue to expand. Currently, there is seventeen staff from six different community agencies located at the HCSO CPID offices, providing direct services to children and families. We’re very proud that these collaborations have resulted in what we believe will be the lowest number of reported child victims since the HCSO took over child protection services. I have distributed a PowerPoint that provides these statistics and others that may be helpful to you in assessing the impact of our operations. I request that you please continue to prioritize Child Protective Services funding as you have in years’ past.
Crime Stoppers: In today’s evolving criminal environment, the Crime Stoppers program has become more necessary than ever. Citizen safety and quality of life mandate that gang activity must be vigilantly exposed; children in schools must be protected against bullying; chemical drug labs in communities must be dismantled; and communities plagued by increasing rates of residential burglary must be protected. Intervention against each of these criminal activities is dependent on the use of anonymous tips and informants. As published stories of retaliation against witnesses continue to increase, fear of reprisal has spread into communities across the nation. Crime Stopper’s ability to solicit criminal intelligence anonymously has emerged as a truly vital weapon for law enforcement.
In addition to serving as a valuable crime fighting tool in our community, Hillsborough County has implemented a Crime Stoppers program in all Middle and High Schools in Hillsborough County. We’re making 60 drug cases a year through our campus program, with many of these being drug trafficking cases. This year the number of drug cases has escalated to 35, only three months into the school year. There are approximately 2,000 tips generated from our school campuses each year, which have resulted in the removal of 14 guns and 157 knives. So, Crime Stoppers is not only a crime fighting program, it is also a critical school campus safety program. Funding allocated to Crime Stoppers is generated by criminal traffic, misdemeanor and felon fines, collected per statute specifically for the Crime Stoppers program. Simply stated, criminals pay for Crime Stoppers. I join the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers is support of their request to raise the twelve-year old Crime Stoppers surcharge collection amount from $20 to $30, to meet the expanding need of this critical program. I hope that you will direct your support to this important effort.