The Cop Column
May 2008
Sgt. Rick Hord
Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office

What Keeps Cops Busy?

            “Why aren’t you out chasing bank robbers?”

            That line has been both a sarcastic retort and an innocent inquiry for years. It points out an important truth: most people have no idea what keeps cops busy. Even a cop, won’t be able to give a simple answer to that question.

            In Okaloosa County, Deputies log an average of 482 calls per day.  Our computer counted 175,882 incidents last year. Of those, 175,881, or 99.99943 percent, did not involve bank robbers.

            Most criminals aren’t very smart, but even the robbers are usually smart enough to rob something other than a bank. Less than one call per day, a total of 207 last year, involved a report of a robbery… and only one of those was a bank robbery.  What do crooks rob instead of bank? Mostly individuals: 130 last year, followed by 29  home invasions, 24 convenience stores, 16  other businesses, and 7 carjackings.

            Deputies sometimes hear the “you should be out chasing bank robbers” comment while talking to people involved in some sort of assault, battery, fight, or disturbance. Those events occupy a great deal of our time… more than 16 times per day, on the average. Fortunately, only a small minority of these incidents turn out to be serious criminal events. The people involved don’t always welcome law enforcement intervention. 

If you include domestic violence incidents, the fight/disturbance average increases to  almost 21 per day. Violations of domestic violence restraining orders are not included in that figure. Those complaints alone come in at the rate of four and a half times per day.

            What else keeps Okaloosa County Deputies busy?

            You may be surprised just how often Deputies make arrests: an average of one every 50 minutes, for a total of 10,500 arrests last year.  About two thirds of those arrests are misdemeanor-level. One arrest every 18 hours and 45 minutes last year was for DUI. Theft arrests are common: one every 8 hours and 42 minutes. Almost 60-percent of all theft arrests are for shoplifting.

Here are few more samples from the almost 176,000 incidents logged in our computer last year:

            Cops and robbers? This  job is not easily reduced to such a simple phrase.