The Strategic Investigations/Crime Analysis Section consists of :
Computer Crimes Unit
The Computer Crimes Unit was formed in September of 1997 in response to the rising number of computer related crimes. During the first year of its existence the computer crimes unit investigated Child Pornography, Computer Intrusion, Fraud, and various other crimes. Forensic exams where conducted with DOS and off the shelf programs. Most hard disk drives contained less than 1 gigabyte of data. The vast majority of computers were IBM compatible and used a dialup modem for their Internet connection.
Today the computer crimes unit investigations range from Homicide, Domestic Security, Child Exploitation, and other major crimes to Internet fraud cases. Computers seized by the Computer Crime Unit have contained over 1terabyte of storage space. Forensic exams are now conducted using a mixture of DOS, specialized forensic software, and hardware devices. Computers now include handheld devices rivaling the IBM compatible desktops that the Computer Crime Unit was examining in 1997.
The Polk County Computer Crimes Unit has received State, National, and International recognition. The Computer Crimes Unit members have received Task Force Member of the Year for the state of Florida, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s award in Washington D.C. and various other awards. Members have successfully completed the International Association of Computer Crime Investigators training, the Florida Association of Computer Crime Investigators training, the National White Collar Crime Center’s Basic and Advanced courses in Computer Crimes Investigation and other training. Computer Crimes Unit members are currently enrolled in the Masters Certificate for computer forensics at this time. Computer Crimes Unit members have been certified as Experts in Computer Forensics and investigations in the 10th Judicial Circuit of Florida.
The Computer Crimes Unit strives to serve our community. The future will bring further opportunity to excel and protect our citizens against those who use technology to prey on others. Please feel free to contact the Computer Crimes Unit 863-292-3300 to report crime or learn more about the Internet.
Crime Suppression Center
The Crime Suppression Center acts as an information-sharing center that provides accurate and timely data to members of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, as well as, all other local, state and federal agencies. Once information is received by The Crime Suppression Center, the information is analyzed and distributed to the proper law enforcement entity. A supervisor, two detectives, a project coordinator, two intelligence specialists and nine crime analysts staff The Crime Suppression Center.
Members of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office are assisted by The Crime Suppression Center in obtaining information related to all areas of investigation. All information submitted as intelligence is cross-referenced with any existing information. This action eliminates duplication of effort and ensures investigations are completed quickly and efficiently.
Identity Theft Unit
The goal of the Identity Theft Unit is to increase the number of arrests and convictions of individuals responsible for identity theft/fraud, and to increase awareness by the public of the scope of identity theft and provide ways to avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime through public information and public programs. Since it is not unusual for identity criminals to cross jurisdictional lines, the task force will also coordinate with other law enforcement agencies to investigate and secure arrests.
The Gang Unit monitors and suppresses gang activity within Polk County. This includes enforcement, intelligence gathering, prevention programs and partnering with other law enforcement agencies.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to investigating all forms of terrorism. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has a full-time detective assigned to both the Federal Bureau of Investigations Joint Terrorism Task Force, as well as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Regional Domestic Security Task Force.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Homeland Security Detective has many responsibilities, including the collection, analysis, and dissemination of domestic security intelligence, and maintaining situational awareness of issues not only occurring in Polk County, but globally as well. The Homeland Security Detective is also responsible for strategic assessments of various infrastructure elements; monitoring and investigating terrorist activity, to include domestic extremist groups; incidents involving weapons of mass destruction; and threats made against public officials.
Organized Retail Crime Unit
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Organized Retail Crime Unit investigates professional shoplifting, Organized Retail crime rings and other Organized crime occurring in the retail environment. The Organized Retail Crime Unit works closely with retailers in the detection and investigation of crimes that convert illegally obtained merchandise, cash or cash equivalent into financial gain. In addition to these investigations the Organized Retail Crime Unit also conducts comprehensive ORC training classes for other Law Enforcement Agencies. The Organized Retail Crime Unit also formed the Polk County Retail Alliance that regularly meets with Retail Organized Retail Crime investigators to discuss current trends and information sharing.
The Vice Unit Conducts investigations into Human Trafficking, Prostitution and Gambling, monitors sex workers, gambling facilities, or bars suspected of committing crimes, infiltrates criminal organizations orchestrating gambling or sex trade operations, collects information from informants, arrests perpetrators of criminal activity, interrogates consumers an low level actors in order to obtain information about organization leaders, investigates complaints involving illegal sales of Alcohol, Tobacco and Counterfeit Products and monitor’s the communications of suspected criminals through wiretaps.