Story By Martyn Linton
I started the day at half six in the morning feeling a little sorry for myself. After the visiting the County Sheriff’s Office the night before I got drinking in the hotel bar with a couple who were from another US state. Time flies when you’re having fun I guess.
After breakfast and a taxi ride to the college I was taught about proactive use of gang informants, intelligence strategies and investigative tactics – the detail I cannot go into.
I had been invited by Ricky my contact with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office to attend the Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Night. This was a demonstration by a number of Special Ops teams to community members being held at a local airport. After class I was in a cab and straight off to join in.
I arrived and heard officers from units such as the helicopter team, diving team, SWAT team and DUI Unit (a proactive traffic unit who target impaired driving) talking about their work. My contact Ricky outed me to the group as a visiting Detective from the U.K. which generated some interest from those present and other cops. After the talks everyone went outside for a dog handler demonstration by a K9 Officer.
I walked around the site and spoke with the different teams that had equipment and vehicles on display. It was good to compare how things are done in the US compared to the UK. I always say it’s a small world. The Captain in charge of the Special Ops Team approached me and said his neighbour was a cop with my force Surrey Police. Small world indeed!
The time came for me to leave as I needed some food and sleep as had class the following morning. I left having learned about policing culture in the US and with an invite from the Captain to ride along with the DUI Unit.
Thank you Ricky for the invite and thank you to the officers who I spoke with during this event.