Take out the politics and rank LET fund recommendations

Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is recommending that $95,000 from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LET) be distributed to nine organizations.

The ECSO has reviewed the allocations and deemed they meet the requirements of Florida Statute 932.7055(5).

The statute says the sheriff’s office can use LET funds for “school resource officer, crime prevention, safe neighborhood, drug abuse education and prevention programs, or for other law enforcement purposes, which include defraying the cost of protracted or complex investigations, providing additional equipment or expertise, purchasing automated external defibrillators for use in law enforcement vehicles, and providing matching funds to obtain federal grants.”

The funds can be allocated to outside agencies “only for school resource officer, crime prevention, safe neighborhood, drug abuse education, or drug prevention programs or such other law enforcement purposes as the board of county commissioners or governing body of the municipality deems appropriate.”

How would you rank and prioritize these requests? We have given you on how the applications say the funds will be used but left off the names of the applicants.

You don’t have to do all nine – Pick your top five that you believe best meet the statute.

A. Drug Prevention/Drug Education: VIP sponsorship of cultural organization’s gala. The proceeds benefit the organization’s education and outreach programs.

B. Crime Prevention: Support a weekend event that brings together cyber experts and local students to witness and participate in real-world cyber operations, cyber defense methods and cybercrime prevention.

C. Crime Prevention/Drug Prevention: Tee signs for a golf tournament.

D. Crime Prevention/Drug Prevention/Safe Neighborhoods: Advertise and promote a community-wide celebration of science that will invite over 500 students in grades 5-8 to engage in hands-on science exploration.

E. Safe Neighborhoods: Underwrite the costs of a summer performance that involves children.

F. Crime Prevention/Drug Prevention/Drug Education/Safe Neighborhood: Sponsorship of golf tournament. Proceeds distributed to local nonprofits that help children and families.

G. Crime Prevention: Pooled with donations from other law enforcement agencies to sponsor a national conference held in Florida on preventing crime in black neighborhoods.

H. Crime Prevention: Pay for training of law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates, probation officers, and others who work with domestic violence crime and crime victim.

I. Crime Prevention/Drug Prevention/Drug Education/Safe Neighborhood: Sponsor a faith-based family event on the beach.

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2 thoughts on “Take out the politics and rank LET fund recommendations

  1. LETF, “policing for profit”, the Robin Hood principle in reverse. It would be interesting if there’s an analyst to learn which demographics and neighborhoods are regularly being fleeced and the amount in dollars return to these groups.

  2. The process is plainly broken within Escambia County. In fact, section (5) of the law seems broken too. A better way to try to reduce the politics from contaminating the process would be for the Florida Legislature to amend the law during its next legislative session in 2019 to require the governing body of a municipality or county to appoint a citizens Law Enforcement Trust Fund Commission. If the governing body refused to appoint such a commission, then all LET Funds would be provided to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Each member of the governing body would be required to appoint one person who lives in their election district, in the case of a city like the City of Gulf Breeze with all at-large elections a person who lives anywhere within the city limits. It would be the LET Fund Commission that would first review each application. The commission members would be prohibited from having private ex-parte communications with the groups submitting such requests. Requests would be reviewed on a regular basis as received perhaps on a monthly basis and during meetings subject to Florida’s Public Records and Open Government laws adding a missing level of transparency to the process. Each group seeking LET funds would have to give a formal presentation during which the public would be allowed to speak in support or opposition. The Sheriff or Police Chief would have an opportunity to weigh-in during the decision-making process. The commission would then forward those requests it has endorsed to the governing body that would approve or reject each in the order it was submitted and approved – “first in, first out.” As money is deposited in the LET Fund, each request would be funded with the requestor required to later describe how the money was spent and the level of crime prevention. As an interim step short of the state law being amended, the Escambia County Commission could appoint its own Law Enforcement Trust Fund Commission to review each request to certify that the true intended purpose is crime prevention not political patronage or the support of regular operations and that each request includes metrics that can be assessed after the fact to see if crime was prevented. The creation of such a commission will add a level of rigor to the selection process that now does not exist,.

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