The Special Operations Division is overseen by a Captain and divided into two primary components, each overseen by a Lieutenant. The Administrative and Emergency Services section oversees all specialty teams, Homeland Security functions, and Volunteer Programs.
Administration and Emergency Services
The Pasco Unified SWAT team is a cooperative effort composed of members of the Sheriff’s Office Field Operations, Criminal Investigation, and Court Services Bureaus along with members of the New Port Richey Police Department, Zephyrhills Fire Rescue, and Pasco Fire Rescue. The Unified SWAT team responds to instances of barricaded subjects and hostage situations on an as needed basis. The Unified SWAT team also serves high risk search warrants and performs dignitary protection functions. The Unified SWAT team is divided into two independent teams that are on call for one month at a time although both teams can be activated if needed.
Underwater Recovery Team
The Underwater Recovery Team conducts dive operations in order to recover stolen property, locate evidence, and search for victims of drowning. All members must hold the appropriate dive certificates and are selected for the team through a rigorous competitive tryout process.
Swift Water Response Team
The Pasco County Swift Water Response Team was formed in early 2017 in response to the repetitive flooding which occurs within Pasco County. This highly trained team of experienced divers and rescue swimmers is ready to respond in the event of catastrophic flooding.
The Surveillance Team is composed of selected Detectives and Strategic Targeted Area Response deputies and is designed to work with SWAT, Major Crimes, Property Crimes, and Warrants Units in order to gather intelligence on the worst of the worst criminals in Pasco County.
The SVOP program supports the Pasco Sheriff’s Office growing fleet of specialty vehicles as part of the overall agency response to critical incidents. Housed within this program are the mobile Tactical Operations Center, the Mobile Command Post, the Intelligence and Information Technology Vehicle, and military surplus Humvees and 5-ton vehicles used for flood response and evacuation. Members are required to remain proficient in the use of all vehicles within the SVOP fleet and train regularly to maintain their skills.
The Volunteers in Policing section encompasses several volunteer programs to include the CSU program, Operation Dark House, the Ghost Car program, Parking Enforcement and volunteers that serve in all parts of the agency. CSU’s assist patrol by directing traffic at crash scenes, and handling lower priority calls such as found property and criminal mischief complaints. Some CSU members are also trained Traffic Crash Investigators (TCI’s). Both Operation Dark House and the Ghost Car program are aimed at crime prevention and have been proven to reduce burglaries in the program areas.
Citizen Support Services
Citizen Support Services is composed of paid part-time and volunteer reserve deputies. These deputies are force multipliers that frequently assist with special events such as parades and the County Fair. They are able to provide manpower support to patrol and have full arrest powers. Reserve I and II Deputies must complete the full police academy and an FTO program. Reserve III Deputies have reduced training requirements and must work under the direct supervision of a fully sworn Deputy.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard is recognized as one of the best in the region. They provide honors at funerals for current and past members of the Sheriff’s Office and assist with Law Enforcement Funerals across the state. The Honor Guard can be seen presenting the colors at all Sheriff’s Office formal events.
The Special Incident Response Team serves as the Sheriff’s Office mobile field force. They assisted with the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa and stand ready to quickly respond to any type of civil disturbance or mass arrest situation. The team is composed of member of the Field Operations, Criminal Investigation, and Court Services Bureaus.
Emergency Management Coordinator
The Administrative and Emergency Services Lieutenant serves as the agency liaison to the Emergency Operations Center. This position coordinates the Agency’s overall level of readiness and provides situational reports and recommendations as needed during emergencies. The AES Lieutenant also coordinates training for members and supervisors related to Emergency Management operations.
Regional Domestic Security Task Force/ UASI Liaison
The Administrative and Emergency Services Lieutenant serves as the agency liaison to both the Regional Homeland Security Task Force (RDSTF) and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) working group. Each group provides some funding for anti-terror and emergency management functions and allow the Pasco Sheriff’s Office to utilize any of the myriad of regional resources available if needed.
The Administrative and Emergency Services Lieutenant serves as the agency liaison to the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) program. The LESO program makes surplus government equipment available to state and local law enforcement agencies. Equipment available ranges from M-16 rifles, MRAPs, tents, cots, and surplus clothing. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office Aviation program is a prime example of the cost benefits of participating in the program as all current aircraft were acquired through the LESO program.
The Canine Unit (K-9) The Patrol K-9 units are assigned to the Special Operations Division which consists of two Sergeants, two Patrol K9 Corporals, and 16 Deputy K-9 handlers and a Corporal who serves as the units full-time trainer. Patrol K-9 teams primary function is to assist patrol deputies with calls for service and K-9 related calls for service such as tracking wanted or missing subjects, criminal apprehension, building and area searches. Several of the K-9 teams are cross trained to locate narcotics or explosives. The Sheriff’s Office also has a cross trained patrol and narcotic K-9 and detective handler assigned to the vice and narcotics division to assist with narcotic related investigations. The School Resource Section also has a SRO Corporal and single purpose narcotic detection team assigned to assist with narcotic searches at all of the Pasco County School District locations. The Canine Unit also oversees two Highway Interdiction Teams (HIT) composed of one narcotics certified K9 and handler paired with a Traffic Enforcement Specialist. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office K9 Association began in 2015 to allow citizens to fully engage with our K9 Teams. For more information the Pasco Sheriff K9 Unit click here.
Environmental Crimes Unit (ECU) is led by a Sergeant and five Detectives whom investigate and patrol the counties waterways and agricultural community. The Agricultural Unit (AG) has three detectives with specialized training assigned to patrol the agricultural and farming communities in Pasco County. The AG unit also investigates crimes against animal complaints ranging from theft to the abuse of live stock countywide.
The Marine unit has 2 detectives assigned whom have specialized training in boat operations. They patrol the counties waterways enforcing Florida boating laws and responding to calls for service on the waterways. The Marine unit also participates in search and rescue missions and criminal investigations on the waterways and waterfront communities.
AG and Marine units also work jointly with Local, State, and Federal Agencies enforcing violations of state and federal law to protect our community.
The primary responsibility of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Section is to make the streets of Pasco County safe as possible for its citizens and visitors. This is done by actively enforcing all traffic laws in Pasco County. Enforcement locations are chosen by analyzing crash data to determine areas with the highest crash rates. Using Intelligence Led Policing methods these locations are often found to overlap areas with increased criminal activity that information is also considered when determining enforcement locations. The Traffic Enforcement Section consists of the STEP Unit and the Motor Unit.
The Selective Traffic Enforcement Program Unit (STEP) conducts nighttime traffic enforcement with an emphasis on locating and apprehending impaired drivers. Members of the unit all receive advanced training in the detection and investigation of alcohol/drug related impaired drivers. Several members of the unit have completed the training to become Drug Recognition Experts (DRE). This unit is responsible for all aspects of traffic enforcement to include special patrols in problem areas. They regularly participate in dignitary escorts, special events, parades and training. The unit conducts regular saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints in the effort to locate impaired drivers.
Aviation Unit The aviation unit provide air support for the Sheriff’s Office members both pro actively and re actively. The Air unit has a Chief Pilot and 5 deputy pilots the six pilots make up three flight crews and provide air service countywide. The flight teams assist in search for criminal subjects and search and rescue missions. They also conduct flight patrols over the county to detect and deter criminal activity. The Aviation Unit also employs a full time mechanic to reduce maintenance costs and maintain each aircraft in a “mission ready” status. The current fleet is composed of 4 OH-58 aircraft which provide round the clock aviation coverage as needed.