The mission and purpose of the Intelligence/Homeland Security Unit of the Lake County Sheriff's Office is to use every intelligence and law enforcement tool available to process, evaluate, collect, analyze, and disseminate intelligence in reference to criminal activity. We will provide intelligence to the appropriate authorities in order to enable the Lake County Sheriff's Office to take a proactive approach in the protection of our citizens, and in the prevention of crimes.
Components of the Intelligence/Homeland Security Unit
- Intelligence Unit
- Detention Facility Intelligence Program
- Sexual Offender & Sexual Predator Tracking Unit
- Adult Gang Intelligence
- Youth Gang Intelligence Program
- Homeland Security
The Intelligence Unit hosts a monthly Intelligence meeting where ninety four agencies, statewide, are represented, with the average attendance at each meeting of sixty law enforcement officers. At the inception of the monthly meetings, there were a mere nine agencies participating. The meetings are held in Lake County and provide law enforcement officers the opportunity to openly exchange valuable intelligence information regarding crime trends experienced throughout each jurisdiction. The Intelligence Unit also hosts a monthly fraud meeting for area businesses and law enforcement officers to provide and share information regarding credit card fraud, stolen checks, identity theft, and other noted trends related to fraudulent activity.
DETENTION FACILITY INTELLIGENCE PROGRAM:
In January 2005, the Lake County Detention Facility Intelligence Program was implemented as a new addition to the Intelligence Unit. This program allows for criminal intelligence to be extracted from inmates and subsequently provided to law enforcement authorities within the appropriate jurisdictions so that the information may be utilized to not only solve crimes, but to prevent them as well. To date, the program has proven to be extremely successful as inmates have identified homicide witnesses, assisted in the recovery of stolen property, foiled conspiracy to commit murder, and have cooperated and assisted in numerous other investigations. The Intelligence Unit looks forward to the continued success of this newly implemented, proactive program.
SEXUAL OFFENDER & SEXUAL PREDATOR TRACKING UNIT:
Sexual Offender & Sexual Predator Tracking Unit is mandated by law to track the sexual offenders, sexual predators and career criminals living in Lake County who have been released from the Department of Corrections. The unit maintains files on each of these subjects to include the most current address information, photographs, and vehicle information. The Unit tracks these offenders by performing face to face address verifications on each of the subjects. Seek arrest warrants on subjects we find who are not in compliance with the law. For more information, please visit the web link to FDLE’s Sexual Offender/Predators database on the Lake County Sheriff’s Office web page.
ADULT GANG INTELLIGENCE UNIT:
A gang is a group of individuals who share a common identity and, engage in illegal activities. Gangs deal in narcotics, weapons, and participate in car jackings, money laundering, armed robberies, murder, and intimidation. A function of the intelligence unit is the management of multiple databases to input and receive confidential information, evaluate patterns and trends of gang activity. The unit makes queries on these databases to assist detectives in the field to enhance their investigations and provide targets for investigation. The Lake County Sheriff's Intelligence Unit is a member of the Florida Intelligence Gang Suppression Unit.
YOUTH GANG INTELLIGENCE UNIT:
The Gang Intelligence Unit through the partnership with the School Resource Deputies will use every law enforcement tool available and raw intelligence gathered to identify the presence of youth gang activity. With this information the School Resource Deputies and the Youth Gang Intelligence Unit can work toward the intervention, diversion, and suppression of gang activity in Lake County.
Parent and Community Awareness Strategies
Three goals that parents and communities should seek to reduce the adverse impact of gangs, its associated violence and its devastating life-long impacts are:
- Raise your gang awareness level. The majority of parents today have no idea what is going on in the corrupting and slimy abyss of street gangs. These mothers and fathers do not realize these gangs have a very strong and constant attraction to our children. From so called "youth groups" (who are led by 47 year old men) to "Rap Artists" (who are/were street gang members) to camouflaged socially conscious, self-help/save the children organizations (Growth and Development–new spin, new name–Gangster Disciples) and political action groups (21st Century V.O.T.E.–Gangster Disciples), our socially/culturally conscientious, community involved, fashion minded, want to be "cool" kids are targeted by these sneaky, street-wise criminals.
- Supervise your children. Our kids want, need and expect clear limits on their activities. So do the right thing and set them, right along with reasonable consequences for violations, and most importantly, make the call and stick to your decision. Being "the nice guy" only makes a mockery of your disciplinary efforts in the eyes of your child. Know who your kid's friends are and what he/she is doing with them.
- Get involved with your children, your neighborhood and your community. Do you know your neighbor two or three houses down from you? The majority of people do not. Take an active interest in your child's school. Get to know the teachers and volunteer to support activities. Participating in your child's activities and interests will be time well invested in his/her future.
What Parents Frequently Ask About Gangs:
What is a gang?
A gang is a group of people who want to be seen as different from others and want others to perceive them as a distinct group. This group is organized, has leadership, and is committing criminal acts in the community.
Gang membership is not in and of itself illegal. However, when the "youth group" turns to criminal activity everyone is about to become a loser.
Gangs establish their reputation by the types and severity of the crimes they commit. The more heinous the crime the more "juice" or reputation the gang gets. In the seedy street gang world, the more "juice" you have the more respect you get!
Florida Statutes 874.03 says a criminal street gang is a formal or informal ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons who have:
- A common name or common identifying signs, colors, or symbols.
- Members or associates who individually or collectedly, engaged in or have engaged in a pattern of youth and street gang activity such as fighting, vandalism, murder, and drug sales.
Does our community have gangs?
No single criminal or unlawful activity will indicate there are gangs in your community. These conditions may indicate the possible existence of gangs:
Most importantly, drug trafficking and use.
- Rampant graffiti on streets, curbs, buildings, in schools, etc.
- Widespread vandalism, auto thefts, robberies/muggings.
- Senseless crimes of violence.
- Fighting between youths followed by crimes committed with weapons.
- Citizen complaints of thugs causing fear and intimidation within their neighborhood.
- Youths commonly seen traveling in groups.
HOMELAND SECURITY UNIT:
Since September 11, 2001, the war against terrorism is far reaching and touches every community in America and Lake County is no exception. The Lake County Sheriff's Office’s role in the war against terrorism is to coordinate with and to provide intelligence to Federal, State, and Local Officials in regard to threat assessments to critical infrastructures of the community and to monitor suspicious activity.
What can you do to help the war on terrorism?
Remain vigilant and report suspicious activity
Every Lake County resident can serve as the eyes and ears of law enforcement to help safeguard our community. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement. A quick, accurate description of events, vehicles and people can make all the difference in apprehending a potential criminal. Report activities or circumstances that seem unusual to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.
- Someone showing unusual interest in utilities, government buildings, historic buildings or similar infrastructure. Pay particular attention to someone photographing, videotaping, inquiring about security, drawing diagrams or making notes about such facilities.
- Suspicious or abandoned packages, luggage or mail in a crowded place, such as an airport, office building or shopping center.
- A stranger loitering in your neighborhood or a vehicle cruising the streets repeatedly.
- Someone peering into cars or the windows of a home.
- A high volume of traffic going to and coming from a home on a daily basis.
- Someone loitering around schools, parks or secluded areas.
- Strange odors coming from a house or building.
- Open or broken doors and windows at a closed business or an unoccupied residence.
- Someone tampering with electrical, gas or sewer systems without an identifiable company vehicle and uniform.
REPORTING SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR:
If you have information regarding suspicious or criminal activity, please contact your local law enforcement agency immediately, 352-343-2101, or 911 if it is an emergency.
You also may report tips to the Crime Line 1-800-423, TIPS.