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Police, sheriff study possible joint efforts

Armed with more questions than answers, Tampa Mayor Dick Greco called a news conference at his office Friday afternoon to outline a loosely formed plan between the Tampa Police Department and Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to consolidate services.

It may not save money, but it might be more efficient and could lead to better crime fighting.

"The mayor and I were able to BS for a couple of hours and come up with things that may work," said Hillsborough Sheriff Cal Henderson, who brought the ideas up at a recent breakfast.

Out of the breakfast chat came a casual plan cemented Thursday to get officers from each department talking about ways to work together.

Both departments will appoint four or five members to a standing committee to consider gaps and redundancies in service. The county, for example, has a bigger DUI squad than the city. The city already sends its SWAT team to train in the county. Both could combine resources to run a truancy program or build a bomb disposal area.

Greco said the public isn't ready to accept a consolidated law enforcement department, but some intermediate steps could work.

"This certainly isn't about turf," Henderson said. "This county's got enough crime to go around."