The Cop Column
February, 2004
Sgt. Rick Hord
Public Information Officer

The "Cops and Robbers" Misnomer

Here's a fact that surprises many people: at any local law enforcement agency, at least 85-percent of the activity does not involve robbers or any other criminals.

That's not to say 85 percent of what cops do isn't important.

For any given citizen at any given moment, the most important function of the Sheriff's Office might be to make the traffic slower... or a party quieter... find a missing child... bring peace to a landlord/tenant dispute... assist a lost motorist... or talk someone out of taking their own life.

The job and the expectations of and for a Deputy Sheriff are very broad. Using figures for the year 2003, here's what your Okaloosa County Sheriff's Deputies did in one statistically "average" day:

About 68 traffic stops; plus another 50 traffic-related calls such as crashes, complaints of reckless drivers, roadway obstructions, malfunctioning stoplights, and more.

In one average day, Okaloosa Deputies write 35 traffic citations, and make 21 criminal arrests.

About 25 times on the average day, Deputies render some form of assistance to citizens.

Theft calls come in 19 times each day; 43-percent of them are gasoline drive-offs.

Also 19 times a day: responding to alarms that turn out "false." How many alarms are alerting to burglaries, robberies, or other emergencies? Less than three per month (34 last year, out of almost 7,000 alarms).

Deputies conduct security checks of homes and businesses an average of almost 16 times a day (the real number is much higher, but we can only count the ones that get entered into the computer with incident numbers).

More than 13 times each day, Deputies are sent to find out why somebody dialed 9-1-1 and either hung up, or didn't provide much information.

Also 13 times a day: Deputies respond to the scene of some kind of fight or disturbance, not counting another four domestic-violence incidents.

Deputies respond to reports of prowlers or suspicious persons or vehicles more than a dozen times a day.

Serving subpoenas and injunctions occupies Deputies' time about ten times a day.

Assisting other agencies, loud music complaints, transporting prisoners, investigating vandalism, and dealing with trespassers each account for five to ten calls per day.

In the twice-a-day to four-times-a-day range we find burglaries, harassment/stalking/harassing telephone calls, school zone details, dealing with drunks, animal incidents, child abuse reports, juvenile curfew checks and truancy, reports of drug activity, environmental complaints, missing persons, forgery and check or credit card offenses, and found property.

That's a pretty busy "average" day, but it's only the start. Another 86 calls don't fit any of the categories mentioned so far. The grand total in the typical day inn 2003 was 429 incidents.

The slowest day of the year was Christmas day, with 226 calls; the busiest was Friday, August 8, with 617 (slightly ahead of Good Friday with 602 and the 4th of July with 591).