A sheriff’s office in Florida is under fire after it started an intelligence program, sending four-page letters to “prolific offenders” in the area and telling them them they’d face enhanced police scrutiny.
The Pasco Sheriff’s office, according to the Tampa Bay Times, tells letter recipients that they 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,” the letter reads.
A spokesperson told Fox News Monday that the program is focused on adult violent and narcotics offenders, and that it came to be through a grant from the University of South Florida and the Department of Justice. The spokesperson called it a “completely separate” program from one last year, which used students’ grades and school records to determine future criminal activity. Last year, the Times found that the office creates a list of people it thinks are likely to break the law based on criminal hiustories and other factors, sending officers to their homes mostly without warrants.
Still, this new letter has residents not so happy, as some are calling it “patronizing,” “threatening,” and promises “harassment” from deputies.
An organization called the People Against the Surveillance of Children and Overpolicing, or the PASCO Coalition, said the letter raises concerns, as Raniah Elgendi of the Council of American-Islamic Relations-Florida said it is “threatening and promising a certain level of harassment and oversight that is in line with the stories we are hearing from the community.”
“We know that is not what makes people or communities more safe, this heightened level of surveillance,” said Lauren Johnson of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.