Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco Sheriff's Office upgrades search capability

Detective Richard Scilex rides the Sheriff’s Office new Ranger 6x6 all-terrain vehicle in front of the Missing Abducted Child Team RV, which has new computer equipment to aid in searches.


Detective Richard Scilex rides the Sheriff’s Office new Ranger 6x6 all-terrain vehicle in front of the Missing Abducted Child Team RV, which has new computer equipment to aid in searches.

NEW PORT RICHEY — In the search for missing children and endangered adults, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office has increased its reach — on the ground and online.

The agency unveiled two new capabilities Wednesday for its Missing Abducted Child Team: The first is a Polaris Ranger 6x6 all-terrain vehicle that deputies are already using to search Pasco's forests and swamps.

The second is a new Web capability that will allow deputies to publish photos, video and audio recordings of the missing children online.

Sheriff Bob White called them the newest "tools in our toolbox."

And all of it was paid for by donations to the Sheriff's Office.

The Ranger ATV is worth about $12,000. Another $2,000 in donations paid for the trailer to haul it around.

The Sheriff's Office used to rely on four-wheel ATVs from its agriculture unit and from volunteers to search for the missing in the backwoods and backroads of areas such as Anclote, Aripeka and the Cypress Creek Wellfield.

But now the Missing Abducted Child Team can call on its own all-terrain vehicle in an emergency.

Deputies recounted how they recently used the vehicle to search Hudson for a missing 9-year-old. The Ranger traversed a 60-degree incline without a problem. The child was quickly found unharmed.

"This will enable us to go into the hardest to reach areas in the county," Detective Richard Scilex said.

In April 2007, the Missing Abducted Child Team received its main vehicle, a recreational vehicle that is used as a command center whenever a search is launched.

Now that vehicle has been equipped with computer equipment providing wireless access to the Internet.

The RV was paid for with $150,000 in donations, and its new online capabilities were the result of another $60,000 in donations to the agency.

"The last time we had a missing child call out in Wesley Chapel, we had three different descriptions of the same child," said Sgt. Brett Landsberg.

That could result in "false positive" identifications, which could hamper any search. But now that won't be a problem. Searchers will be able to identify the missing by their photos, their mannerisms and their voice.

The data will be available to the media and the public at

"The minute there's a search," Landsberg said, "We can start broadcasting to the Web."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at or (727) 869-6236.

Pasco Sheriff's Office upgrades search capability 06/11/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 13, 2008 3:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pedestrian dies after being struck by vehicle near USF Tampa campus


    A pedestrian was killed near the University of South Florida Tampa campus on Friday after he was struck by a car on Fletcher Avenue, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

  2. Prada is selling a $185 paperclip. Excuse me, what?


    Prada is selling a $185 paperclip. File that (with regular office supplies) under things you don't need.

  3. St. Petersburg police investigating why civilian employees accidentally fired AR-15 semiautomatic rifle inside HQ


    ST. PETERSBURG — An internal police investigation is looking into two civilian employees who accidentally fired a round from an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle inside St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters.

    The St. Petersburg Police Department is investigating an incident in which two civilian employees accidentally fired an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle they brought inside police headquarters. Department rules prohibit civilian employees from bringing weapons into police facilities.
  4. A 12-foot pilot whale washes ashore on Siesta Key


    A 12-foot-long beached pilot whale appeared on the shore of Point of Rocks Beach in Siesta Key early Friday morning, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

    The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office responded to a 12-foot whale washing ashore early Friday morning. (Sarasota Sheriff's Office)
  5. Trump signs 'VA accountability' bill, as Gus Bilirakis watches


    WASHINGTON - Rep. Gus Bilirakis was among a group of lawmakers on hand to see President Trump sign a "VA accountability bill that will make it easier to dismiss problem employees.

    Rep. Gus Bilirakis, at President Trump's left, watches the bill signing.