New police unit to track, catch career offenders
Last month the St. Petersburg Police Department organized a new group called the Career Offender Tracking and Apprehension Unit.
COTA's mission is to reduce crime by tracking habitual offenders — juveniles and adults — and analyzing their patterns of criminal behavior. The formation of the new unit was based on the premise that a small percentage of offenders are responsible for most crimes. By disrupting or dismantling the criminal pursuits of these habitual offenders — and doing so in an expeditious manner — the police department believes that it can reduce crime.
When appropriate, unit members will work with parents, youths and young adults and refer them to social service agencies in the hopes that they can change their criminal behavior.
COTA will monitor habitual criminal offenders, track their arrests and court appearances, and develop intelligence on their daily activities. The unit also will conduct home and school visits and develop relationships with offenders and their families. It also will monitor the court-imposed sanctions (juveniles) and probation terms (adults) of these offenders and work closely with the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office, Probation and Parole, school officials and community leaders.
By concentrating our best efforts on career criminals, we hope to make our community an even safer and more enjoyable place to live and work.
William Proffitt, St. Petersburg Police Department