Posted by: tampachamber on Friday, October 26, 2018
Jennifer Suarez Jankes, Citigroup On Wednesday, October 10, 2018, fresh off the back of individual ride-a-longs with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Tampa Police Department, LT ’19 set off on Law Enforcement Day during the early morning hour of sunrise.  First stop was Orient Road Jail.  Upon arrival, LT’19 was greeted by the friendly faces of some of the top officers at HCSO and TPD, including one of the senior ranking female officers, Major Melissa Moore, who provided LT ’19 with interesting statistics and facts about the two local jails that service the entire Tampa Bay area – Orient Road Jail and Falkenburg Road Jail.  A few ofthe notable statistics Major Moore provided were the combined capacity of both jails at roughly 4000 and the deputy to inmate ratio under HSCO’s direct supervision model of 1:72 in the General Population.  Colonel Mike Perotti of HCSO’s Department of Detention Services provided an insightful overview of Orient Road Jail, its challenges, and the many programs and services it offers.  LT’19 learned that 80% of the inmates arrive with mental health issues and the Jail provides a robust variety of programs and services to inmates dealing with substance abuse, addiction, mental illness, and physical health issues.  In fact, the Jail spends a staggering $24 million dollars a year in healthcare for inmates. The care and humanity offered to the inmates was unexpected. After touring the Jail and having a glimpse at the orderly intake, booking, and triage areas as well as the sterile living quarters of the General Population and Solitary Confinement, LT ’19 had the opportunity to lunch with top officials of HCSO and TPD, the two primary law enforcement agencies serving the Tampa Bay area who work closely with one another to protect our entire community.  The opportunity to gain a firsthand understanding of what our local law enforcement does on a daily basis to serve and protect the community along with the constant rials and tribulations they face were eye-opening.  The unwavering commitment and dedication of HCSO and TPD to serve our community was crystalized during LT’19’s ride-a-longs; the jail visit really drove home why they make the sacrifices they do and how deeply invested they are in caring for and protecting all of us. Later that afternoon, LT ‘19 was whisked away to the TPD’s unassuming training facility.  Unbeknownst to LT’19, the group’s experience there was going to be anything but ordinary.  The visit began with a warm welcome from Chief Brian Dugan who shared an overview of TPD’s organization and remarkable facts like the $5 million dollars that is spent each year on police vehicles and the 72% reduction in crime last year.  Chief Dugan highlighted the Department’s key challenges and accomplishments, including the search for and events leading up to the arrest of the Seminole Heights serial killer.  Following a thought-provoking Q&A with the Chief, TPD introduced LT ’19 to several of the Department’s adrenaline-boosting training techniques.  The group was given rare, first-hand looks at the precision and care of TPD’s expert Training Team through Taser demonstrations, where several brave LT’19 members took part, tactical pursuit driving, simulator video scenarios, the K-9 Unit, the Horse-mounted Unit, and the Bomb Squad. The action-packed day concluded with a group debriefing where the impact of LT ‘19’s shared experiences, realizations, and appreciation of our heroes at HCSO and TPD were emphatically expressed by the group.  LT’19 came away from the experience with newfound understanding of, respect for, and pride in the brave men and women who serve in our local law enforcement protecting our community in more ways than ever imagined.  A resonating theme that emerged was that HCSO and TPD are truly top notch in every aspect of their jobs.  LT ’19 is honored and privileged to have one of TPD’s very own, Major Ruben Delgado, among them.   Orient Road Jail Colonel Mike Perotti Q&A Tours Luncheon with HCSO/TPD TPD Training Facility TPB overview Chief Brian Dugan ECD – Taser Demonstration Simulator Video Scenario Training Tactical Pursuit Driving Static Displays – Bomb Squad, Mounted Police, K-9 Unit