The Tampa Police Department (TPD) is responsible for ensuring the protection, safety and welfare of City residents and visitors; protection of property; prevention of crime, with emphasis on Community Oriented Policing (COP); maintenance of community order and respect for the law. The Department is responsible for enforcement of the laws of the State of Florida and the ordinances of the City of Tampa.
The Tampa Police Department meets or exceeds the 436 standards for police professionalism set by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. In August, 1998, the Department became the largest municipal agency in the nation to receive accreditation for a fourth consecutive period of three years.
In FY99 the Department will add one school resource officer for the new Orange Middle (Magnet) School, five community service officers for the Report Information Unit, three property evidence technicians, and twenty uniformed officers for a second shift in the firehouses. The additional positions bring the total number of full-time equivalent Police positions to 1,257 (945 sworn and 312 civilian). This will give Tampa a ratio of 3.25 authorized sworn officers per one thousand residents.
1997 Annual Crime Report
The latest available Crime Report shows every category is down for calendar year 1997, with total violent crime down by 8.0%.
Community Oriented Policing
The Tampa Police Department is committed to Community Oriented Policing (COP). It is a fundamental principle for all police operations. Two hiring grants provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, are currently active.The Universal Hiring Grant (51 officers), was implemented in 1996 and these officers are assigned to the 20 fire stations and various Tampa Housing Authority properties throughout the City.
In FY99 we will start Universal Hiring Grant II (20 officers) which will provide a second shift and 24-hour coverage in the fire stations. Neighborhood residents will always have an officer that they know close by.
Long-term assignment of officers to the various firehouses allows the officers to get to know the people who live and work in the area. The officers make every effort to meet the citizens and gain their trust. The residents of Tampa are working with the police to rid their neighborhoods of crime. In effect, the police have the eyes of the community to help them fight crime. This cooperation has had dramatic results in reducing criminal activity and improving the quality of life.
Petty crime has been targeted in the City with the passage of the Drug/Prostitution ordinance, early in FY98, to clean up drug trafficking and prostitution. A highly concentrated force of officers moves from neighborhood to neighborhood, makes arrests and seizes the drug dealers' and prostitutes' customers cars. Payment of a $500 fine is required for the customers to retrieve their cars and the drug dealers' cars are forfeited.
When this petty crime program removes many criminals from a neighborhood at once, it encourages residents to become involved in keeping their neighborhoods safe. When petty crime is cleaned up, more serious crime is also reduced.
Proceeds from fines (over $200,000 thus far in FY98) are used to buy supplemental police equipment.
The Police Department has started its decentralization to four locations. Administrative personnel have moved into the headquarters building downtown by City Hall. District 1, moving to a location near Tampa International Airport, and District II, to be located near Busch Gardens, should be completed in early FY99. District III is moving into the administration building downtown. The communications building, to be located adjacent to Hillsborough County's Emergency Operations Center at 30th Street and Hanna, should be completed by April, 1999.
Decentralization of the Police Department will further the implementation of the COP program by reducing response time and continuing the benefits of the COP philosophy.
Police Vehicle Take Home Program
The Police Department share of the City's vehicle replacement program will allow the purchase of 160 marked, 12 replacement and 18 unmarked vehicles during FY99. Then, in FY2000, 138 marked, 12 replacement and 18 additional unmarked vehicles will be bought. Funding from the Community Investment Tax and the City's Utility Tax will allow qualified officers the opportunity to be assigned a personal take home vehicle.
Among the benefits anticipated from the take home program are increased visibility of police as a crime deterrent, improved response time, and reduced maintenance and repair costs. The total take home program calls for 724 marked units and 222 unmarked vehicles. Currently 569 are being used. The goal is to complete the purchase of all 946 vehicles by FY2000 year end, resulting in a fleet with no marked unit more than seven years old.
Local Law Enforcement Block Grants
The $2.2 million Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG) received during FY97 is being spent on computer technology improvements for the Police Department. Also, upon recommendation of the Grant Advisory Committee, a contribution of $72,000 of grant funds was given to the 13th Judicial Circuit Drug Court.
During FY98, the Police Department received the second LLEBG for $2.3 million from which $100,000 will be donated to the Drug Court and $20,000 to the State Attorney's Office. About $2.2 million will be spent for computer technology improvements.
Currently we are applying for our third LLEBG for $2.8 million to be used for technology improvements, along with the same contributions to the Drug Court and the State Attorney's Office as in FY98.
Universal Hiring Grant I (FY96)
This is the third year of a $3.8 million Department of Justice grant for 51 officers. Two officers have been assigned to each firehouse in the City. Eleven have been assigned to various Tampa Housing Authority properties.
Universal Hiring Grant II (FY99)
FY99 will be the first year of a $1.5 million Department of Justice hiring grant for 20 officers that will provide a second shift in the fire stations.
State Home Monitoring Detention Program (Prompt)
The State of Florida is in the fourth year of the Police Re-enforcement of Monitoring Prior to Trial (PROMPT) Grant ($131,051). Certain youth, allowed to remain at home prior to trial, are monitored randomly on a 24 hour, seven day a week basis.
U.S. Department of the Treasury ATF Project Trackdown Violent Crime Task Force Grant
For the third year, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has provided a $32,000 grant to investigate the sources of firearms recovered from youth. ATF furnishes one special agent and the Tampa Police Department furnishes one detective to work full-time on Project Trackdown.
U.S. Department of Justice Weed and Seed Grant
The fourth year of the Weed and Seed Grant for $225 thousand continues to help communities to empower themselves with education and job placement. First the Police Department weeds out the undesirable elements from the community. Then the residents and community oriented police form a partnership to continue to fight crime and to provide "seed" programs for economic development.
State Department of Juvenile Justice Aftercare Program
For the second year, this grant provides $394,200. The State contracts with the City directly to provide youth counseling services for delinquent juveniles who have completed boot camp or similar programs. The Tampa Police Department provides five officers for this program.
Problem Solving Partnerships Grant
For FY99, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has awarded the Tampa Police Department $134,585 for problem resolution training. The current targeted "problem" is auto theft in Ybor City.