CLEARWATER — Police Chief Dan Slaughter started this month a new unit to target repeat offenders and nuisance properties.
The Special Enforcement Unit consists of six police officers and a sergeant from within the department to focus on the small group of people who commit the majority of crimes, Slaughter said.
"We’re talking about that drug house in the neighborhood that gets a lot of tips or complaints. We’re talking about the particular person that may be on probation but is continually involved in criminal activity over and over again," he said. "We make arrests and end up in this cyclical hamster wheel."
The strategy isn’t much different from what officers familiar with the problem spots in their areas of the city have already been doing, Slaughter said. But the unit formalizes the mission and dedicates consistent resources toward it.
Slaughter said he got the idea at a community meeting, when a resident pointed out that cops know who the prolific criminals are and questioned why they keep having to arrest them.
"Instead of trying to do 50 things average," Slaughter said, "I’m trying to do 10 of them really effective and make an impact."