Occupant Protection Specialists
FHP’s highly successful Occupant Protection Program has been named the top program in the Nation for 2007 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). For their hard work, the Occupant Protection Team, which consists of Occupant Protection Specialists Kim Jones (State Coordinator), Troopers Reggie Edwards (Troop C), Wanda Diaz (Troop D), Mary Jackson (Troop E), Lucy Papp (Troop F), Dawn Tomlinson (Troop G), and Conya Bassett (Troop L), is recognized as the best in the entire Nation among all international, municipal, state, county, and city law enforcement agencies.
Over the past six years, the Occupant Protection Team has worked very hard in their traffic safety education efforts in educating the public about the importance of seat belt and child restraint use; and the dangers of driving under the influence, distracted driving, aggressive driving, and a variety of other traffic safety-related issues. Last year, the Occupant Protection Team focused on Child Passenger Safety, instructing 84,804 parents on the proper installation and use of child restraints, checking 2,948 child safety seats for proper use, and distributing 3,510 child seats to needy Florida families who could not afford child seats for their children. In addition, last year the Team conducted 1,563 public information events on seats belts; gave 629 presentations on the dangers of DUI targeting the teen population, and 572 separate traffic safety demonstrations targeting Florida’s minority populations statewide.
In addition to winning the IACP Special Award for its Occupant Protection Program, FHP placed 3rd in the National Chief’s Challenge for Highway Patrols with 1,000+ troopers, meaning our agency’s overall performance was 3rd best for our size in the Nation in 2007. Thanks to the Office of Public Affairs for their hard work preparing this award for submission, and a special thanks to Mallory Horne, the newest member of the Public Affairs team, for his hard work in putting the statewide application together to ensure an excellent publication for this year’s Challenge.
Also, FHP’s Bureau of Investigations (BOI) won a special award for their successful work in cargo-theft reduction in Florida (Category 3 Winner). Their award was based on the following:
The Florida Highway Patrol and allied agencies have realized that the commercial vehicle and cargo theft problem is far too large to be solved by any one law enforcement agency, e.g., in one recent year Florida recorded 381 cargo thefts with an estimated total loss of $34.4 million. They understand that the very nature of the trucking industry contributes to the problem: drivers’ personal and mandated downtime; high-value cargoes with minimal or no security; speed with which un-tethered trailers can be stolen; and nominal punishment imposed upon accused, if apprehended and convicted. They also grasp the disconnect between law enforcement and the trucking industry, e.g., not always sharing intelligence, not responding to the location of a stolen trailer’s recovery because of the physical distance involved, and not partnering with each other because a trucking company often is located well outside an agency’s jurisdiction.
The Florida Highway Patrol’s Bureau of Investigations personnel received training in cargo-theft reduction, including the use of an Electronic Freight Theft Management System (EFTMS) to share information relating to thefts of commercial vehicles; cargo-theft trends; and techniques used by thieves. Those personnel, in turn, attended numerous trucking industry conferences throughout the United States, met with Florida law enforcement officers at every level, and shared their expertise; all were invited to participate in EFTMS.
The Florida Highway Patrol has focused on the timeframe between the location of the theft and the location where the stolen item is intended to be transported, i.e., the period of time when the thief is most vulnerable to apprehension.
The Florida Highway Patrol, in conjunction with agencies in areas where high numbers of thefts occurred, began placing decoys equipped with satellite tracking technology, so the decoys could be tracked to their destinations to identify and apprehend perpetrators, to recover additional stolen property, and to secure leads in order to pursue other cases. This effort evolved into the Florida Commercial Vehicle Cargo Theft Task Force, comprised of many Florida law enforcement agencies and the NICB and led by the Florida Highway Patrol.
FHP's winners will be recognized for these prestigious awards at the annual National IACP Conference held in New Orleans in October. Congratulations to the winners for these well-deserved awards!