Clearwater, FL (January 2009) - Most people feel safe inside their own home and once inside, their personal belongings are often left unsecured or easily accessible. This is especially true when it comes to prescription medications. A recent trend suggests that medication has become a popular target for thieves. I would like to take this opportunity to offer some suggestions on how to properly secure your prescription medications and to prevent the expense and inconvenience associated with this type of theft.
Over the past few years we have seen an increase in the theft of prescription medication from private homes. In some cases the theft is part of a burglary in which the perpetrator targeted jewelry, cash, and small electronics. After gathering valuables to steal, the burglar simply opened a medicine cabinet before leaving and then took whatever prescription medication that was in plain view. In other cases, a theft was committed by trades people, invited guests, or even relatives who had access to medication that was in a medicine chest or left out in plain view. Some thefts were not discovered for an extended period of time because individual pills had been stolen or because the medication was no longer being taken by the victim.
From the Desk of Sheriff Jim Coats December 2008
As we begin the New Year, I would like to thank the citizens of Pinellas County for their overwhelming support. I look forward to my second term as your Sheriff, and my staff and I have implemented many initiatives despite having faced some serious and unprecedented budget challenges along the way.
All of our programs and services have been scrutinized to determine their cost effectiveness and productivity. This analysis became especially important during the past year when it became clear that there would be a significant reduction in our budget even though our operating costs had increased. Through some reorganization, including the elimination of some positions and modification of services, we endured and we are now planning for the future.
It is anticipated that we will once again face budget cuts in the coming fiscal year; however, I am confident that our ongoing efforts to ensure efficiency will allow us meet the challenge ahead. Some of the initiatives aimed at saving money, while still providing superior service to our citizens, include improvements in some patrol operations, crime prevention programs, and the use of volunteers.
Too many people, knowledge of what law enforcement agencies do is limited to what they might have seen in television dramas or news stories. For this reason, many people have only a limited understanding of how a professional law enforcement agency operates and what its employees do. Deputies and other uniformed members of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office are the most visible part of the agency, but there are many employees whose efforts are not as visible, yet they are vital to our success. These jobs include a wide variety of accounting, clerical, communication, maintenance and many other support positions without which the Sheriff’s Office would have difficulty in providing meaningful service to the public.
One important, yet seldom recognized function of any law enforcement agency is professional record management. When it comes to maintaining the Sheriff’s Office criminal records database, the job is handled by our Records Division. In most cases, until there is a need for a copy of report, the round-the-clock important tasks performed by the members of this division go largely unnoticed.
To accomplish their mission, the Sheriff’s Office Records Division is separated into three different units, each of which has specific responsibilities pertaining to law enforcement records. Criminal records are constructed, validated, archived, and disseminated by members of this unit as necessary in accordance with Florida public record laws. For this reason, criminal records from the present dating back to the 1950s are currently preserved.