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If a bicycle gets stolen after 6 a.m. on Friday, don’t expect a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy to head out to take the report in person.
That’s just not going to be possible before, during and right after the Republican National Convention. With thousands of dignitaries, protestors, politicos, journalists and gawkers all expected to descend on the Tampa Bay Area this week in advance of the Aug. 27-30 convention, the sheriff’s office is modifying its routine on some calls, explained Debbie Carter, spokeswoman for the agency.
From 6 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 24, to 6 a.m. Aug. 31, deputies will not go out personally on minor, non-emergency calls, including traffic crashes that don’t involve injuries or road blockages, Carter said. Instead, deputies will be working 12-hour shifts for days on end to provide security for the convention and the county as a whole, according to Carrollwood-Northdale Patch.
“This was created in an attempt to ease the pressures on sheriff's office personnel and provide the best coverage for the citizens of unincorporated Hillsborough County,” Carter said. “The modification will in no way change the level of professionalism exuded by sheriff's office personnel.”
Residents are being asked to support law enforcement during this time by taking on the burden of reporting minor crimes and crashes themselves.
“(They’ll be) directed to call a CSO (community service officer) to take the report,” Carter explained.
In some cases, those filing reports will be asked to go to a local district office instead, she added.
“It’s mainly going to be traffic crashes,” Carter said.
In the Brandon area, residents can report crashes and crimes at:
2310 N. Falkenburg Road Tampa, FL 33619
The sheriff’s office non-emergency line is 813-247-8200.
The Florida Highway Patrol will continue to handle crashes on state roads and the Interstate system, Carter said.
Traffic crashes on local roads that don’t involve injuries and where vehicles are still operable will fall under the temporary policy, Carter said. Drivers involved in those crashes will be asked to go to the nearest District Office or to stop a passing deputy for a Driver’s Exchange Form.
Crime Prevention is Key
The sheriff’s office is also urging residents to be mindful of personal and home safety during the convention.
“We’re going to have a lot of people visiting Hillsborough County,” Carter said.
This means it’s important for residents throughout the county to exercise “normal safety tips. Lock the car, don’t leave valuables inside vehicles,” close garage doors and so on.
For more safety tips, visit the sheriff’s office’s website.