Today’s “Get to Know Your PSO” Highlights our STAR Units:
Our Strategic Targeted Area Response (STAR) Units act as teams to hunt down prolific offenders who are committing big four crimes: burglaries, auto burglaries, vehicle/grand theft and robberies. PSO has three STAR Units, one for each district– made up of four members each.
“We work hand in hand with ILP (Intelligence Led Policing Unit) to correlate any known associates who are committing those [Big Four] crimes,” said Deputy Sean Logan (STAR 1).
The STAR unit works as a team in what they call a STAR box. This incorporates approximately 5 square miles that has a higher crime rate. The unit will stay in their box and suppress crime in that area before moving the STAR box to a new location.
“We go into an area that has high crime and we basically suppress the crime in that area,” said Cpl. Chiavetta (STAR 3). “We are tasked out with dealing with the top five peole who are committing crime in our area.”
This keeps the public safer by locking up the six percent of people who are committing 60 percent of the crime.
“We do not respond to calls of service,” said Cpl. Morris (STAR 1).
The STAR team will back-up road patrol they need them; however, that is not their primary function.
“Patrol has calls for service they have to answer, so they don’t have the opportunities to sit there and really investigate on certain crimes,” said Deputy Palermo (STAR 2).
Before joining STAR, all members were road patrol deputies. As road patrol, most of the deputies were used to working alone. Now that they work as a team, it makes it easier to bounce ideas off one another.
“When you get to work in a cohesive unit like this team, you have a very effective way of handling these bad people and suppressing the crime in our community,” said Deputy Hazime (STAR 3).
There is many different reasons these men wanted to join the STAR unit.
“You have to have a high drive and the ability not to want to sit still,” said Deputy James McCabe (STAR 1).
The crime prevention aspect is another quality that attracts the STAR team members.
“I want to go out and find people to arrest so we can prevent those crimes from happening,” said Deputy John Riyad (STAR 1).
All in all, being a part of this team will help advance and hone the skills of its members. It can help prepare them to be a part of PSO’s ACE or VICE Units. It can be challenging, but can also provide good learning experiences to the members.
“We try to at least talk to the public. Try to give them more information. Show like, ‘Hey we’re just regular people, like this,’” said Deputy Aiken (STAR 2). “I don’t know of any other agency that does the same thing.”