Florida Sheriff's Office Now Notifying People It Will Be Inflicting Its Pre-Crime Program On Them

from the ensuring-accountability-for-everyone-but-the-Sheriff's-Office dept

The Pasco County (FL) Sheriff’s Office has been swamped with negative press coverage centering on its predictive policing program. The Office claims it’s not “predictive policing,” but rather “intelligence-led policing.” Whatever you call it, it sucks.

The Sheriff’s Office may have some lofty goals that involve stopping crime before it starts, but the supposedly forward-looking policing program does little more than subject past offenders (along with friends, families, and acquaintances) to sustained harassment by law enforcement officers. What’s supposed to keep crime down by directing resources to possible serious criminal activity has manifested as multiple visits from officers who do little more than try to coerce people into consenting to unlawful searches and write out nuisance citations for things like missing mailbox numbers or uncut grass.

The Sheriff’s Office has since spun this off to include students at public schools, presumably to prep kids for a future of pointless harassment by law enforcement officers simply because they have the misfortune of living in Pasco County.

Thanks to some lawsuits and investigations, the Sheriff’s Office is being a bit more proactive on the notification front. According to this ongoing investigation by the Tampa Bay Times, targets of the “intelligence” program are now being informed they’ve been blacklisted by the Sheriff’s Office.

It starts like an offer of admission from a prestigious university.

“We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected…” it says.

But the four-page letter from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office goes on to tell recipients they will be facing enhanced police scrutiny under the agency’s controversial intelligence program.

“You may wonder why you were enrolled in this program,” the letter continues. “You were selected as a result of an evaluation of your recent criminal behavior using an unbiased, evidence-based risk assessment designed to identify prolific offenders in our community. As a result of this designation, we will go to great efforts to encourage change in your life through enhanced support and increased accountability.”

It all sounds so positive. While there’s really no evidence this is actually “evidence-based” or “unbiased,” at least the Sheriff’s Office is willing to “encourage change in your life.” It sounds nice but “encouragement” probably just means “constant harassment” and “enhanced support” is probably a euphemism for suspicionless searches. “Increased accountability” may be part of this program, but it won’t be applied to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Nope, there’s a really good chance “increased accountability” means more fines, more citations, more arrests, and more jail time.

It’s definitely an attempt at a lighter touch.

The new letter to so-called “prolific offenders” says its purpose is to communicate the agency’s “sincere desire” to help recipients “begin a new path.”

“We are committed to your success,” it says.

But is it sincere? All evidence points to “no.” The stated goal of the Sheriff’s “pre-crime” program was, in the department’s own words, to make targets so miserable they either moved or sued the Sheriff’s Office. Now that some targets have done both, the Office appears to be trying to rein things in just a bit, or at least pretend the program is not solely about vindictive, unjustified harassment of certain Pasco County residents.

After all the sweet things about wanting to help people live their best lives, the letter [PDF] gets down to business. If program targets can’t meet the standards the Office doesn’t bother detailing in this letter, they can expect even more law enforcement interaction in the future.

“Our desire to help you will not hinder us from holding you fully accountable for your choices and actions.”

It then says the Sheriff’s Office will share recipients’ names and criminal histories with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure “the highest level of accountability” for any future crimes they commit.

External pressure may have forced the Sheriff’s Office to reconsider its “intelligence-led policing” program. But this letter shows it didn’t get much further than sanding down the edges of some of its sharper words. The changes appear to be limited to giving residents heads up on their impending misery.

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Comments on “Florida Sheriff's Office Now Notifying People It Will Be Inflicting Its Pre-Crime Program On Them”

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sumgai (profile) says:

Anybody else here see the strong resemblance between this crap and 1930’s Nazi Germany?

In my view, just because the targets have the legal freedom to pick up and move, or to hire a lawyer and sue, that doesn’t mean that they have the financial reserves to do so. This was true back then, and is still true today.

I’d sure like to see the racial breakdown of these t̶a̶r̶g̶e̶t̶s̶ "recipients", versus the breakdown for the entire county. My ACLU-sensing nose is twitching more than a little bit just now.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Pre-crime

The only sort of "pre-crime" program that would ever work would need to focus on solving the issues that lead folks to commit crime.
You know, things like mental health, food and shelter. Once all of a persons basic needs are met and they’re healthy, what reason would they have to commit crimes (that would also be something an actual "pre-crime" program would also need to look at and solve).

Treating folks like criminals isn’t a ‘pre-crime’ program, it’s a sure way to keep people down and from being their best selves.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Pre-crime

"The only sort of "pre-crime" program that would ever work would need to focus on solving the issues that lead folks to commit crime."

Well, it works splendidly for its primary purpose – that of making cops look good when they fill the slammer with the unfortunate and disadvantaged the system points out, who – not actually being criminals – are as a bonus unlikely to jeopardize police life.

"Once all of a persons basic needs are met and they’re healthy, what reason would they have to commit crimes…"

Not the American way. In the US it’s well known that honest people never become criminals and can work their way out from any disadvantaged situation by just pulling a few more 27-hour shifts.
"Criminals are born bad", after all, and if they can’t overcome that disadvantage on their own why should society waste money on them?

THAT is the logic behind why "pre-crime" prediction is pursued so aggressively in the US. It is, in the minds of the most ardent advocates – divine will that some people are born evil and weak in mind. The reson d´étre of their existence to be a trial for the righteous. There are a lot of sick parts like this in puritanism.

"Treating folks like criminals isn’t a ‘pre-crime’ program…"

Well, it is if the intent is to manufacture criminals and pad the books with quotas fulfilled by officers so their records look good.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Beatings will continue until moral improves

“We are committed to your success,” it says.

‘success’ here being defined as ‘successfully moving out of the area’ because they already gave up the game when they admitted that the goal of their harassment was to get people to sue them or move away.

If anything this strikes me as doubling-down on their petty sadism of the program as it was before as now not only will people think that the police are harassing them they’ll have been told that it’s coming and will have that constantly hanging over their heads.

Forget ‘reform’ this is clearly a department that needs to be purged entirely with the entire department fired, investigated by a third party not connected to the police and appropriate charges brought and blacklisted from ever working a taxpayer funded job again as their behavior here makes clear that they cannot be trusted with any sort of power or authority.

Anonymous Coward says:

this POS train wreck blue lies mafia tyrant needs to be permanently removed! this small podunk town is going to paying out millions to his victims for a very long time! why they haven’t got rid of this POS yet is mind-boggling!
this ILLEGAL program has NO incentives, NO rewards, NO help, NO support, it’s only purpose is to subject it’s victims to unrelenting harassment, bogus fines, unlawful searches, inappropriate criminal charges, bias profiling, and cost it’s victims money they don’t have! all in the name of something other then justice!

steps to take when you get one of these ILLEGAL letters…..
immediately put up camera’s 360 around house!
have them record 24/7
have backup recordings livestreamed to an off site location.
hire a lawyer.
have video’s piped direct in real time to lawyer.
have layers number on speed dial!
file a new claim every time you get a visit from the blue lies mafia.
stay vigilant.
record there every move!
eventually the towns insurance company will get tired of paying out claims it will ether drop them or charge them a high enough premium to cover all of the lawsuits! and the town will go bankrupt!

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"this ILLEGAL program has NO incentives, NO rewards, NO help, NO support"

Unfortunately wrong on all counts; The police and politicians are heavily incentivized to look good in programs like this, the reward will come in the form of at least one more term for being "tough on crime", how much help is really needed when all it takes for this program to look good is to bolster the number of incarcerated people, it’s certainly supported by every mouth-breathing fuckwit out to own the libs and others they just know will be among those identified as liable to commit crimes…
…and it’ll take a brave judge indeed to even look at this program and call it "illegal" when shit like QI and civil forfeiture still flies with the santion of most courts.

Yeah, if saner people go the distance and really set out to document and report this shit-show they’ll have spent days of their lives in getting rid of it. And the people implementing it will just highlight that as "libs" sabotaging crime fighting efforts and win the approval of their shit-for-brains redneck voter base.

When not being maliciously insane is a full-time job for thousands of citizens who shouldn’t have to volunteer for that, you know a country is in bad shape.

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RGOS says:

The TB Times won a Pulitzer for that

Its not merely ongoing reporting, re:" "According to this ongoing investigation by the Tampa Bay Times"

–the Tampa Bay Times won many awards, including the Nieman Center at Harvard, and the Pulitzer for that reporting on "organized gang stalking."

https://www.pulitzer.org/cms/sites/default/files/content/targeted-tampabaytimes-story1.pdf

And all of that as TD’s asshole mods, Anon’s and others here "gang stalked" and harassed me in the comments forum for publicizing that and other cases.

It seems legitimate journalism has adopted ROGS Analysis quite effectively, despite the opposition here.

My Gary Webb Award for Excellence in Gang Stalking Journalism is still taking submissions however. It includes a trophy of pigs at a trough with the bottom chewed out.

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