A message from Sheriff Scott Israel:
Many Broward residents want to get involved to promote greater public safety in their communities. This month, I wanted to highlight one of the many volunteer opportunities we offer at the Broward Sheriff’s Office: The Citizen Observer Patrol (COP) program, in which more than 1,000 Broward County residents participate, targets local crime prevention within a district by providing a visible presence in local neighborhoods.
COP volunteers are local residents who help BSO fight crime by patrolling their community, looking out for suspicious activity or potential hazards and offering assistance to neighbors.
Their high visibility in their COP uniforms is a valuable addition to local law enforcement and a deterrent to crime. Administered by each local BSO district, the COPs are there to help people, to observe and to report incidents to law enforcement. Their vigilance enhances the patrols of deputies working in their communities.
COPs serve as extra “eyes and ears” of BSO, making our streets safer. Recently, two COPs observed a possible DUI suspect and notified their local dispatch. The suspect’s vehicle was found and stopped, and the individual was arrested. It was discovered that the driver was also linked to a hit-and-run crash earlier that evening. There is no doubt these COPs helped to prevent a tragic event from occurring.
COPs often function as friendly BSO ambassadors to the many tourists who visit Broward County. Members of this unit provide an invaluable service to BSO deputies, whose time and focus are most often directed elsewhere. COPs also assist our deputies by providing help with traffic and parking enforcement.
Last year, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea resident Bill Johansen approached his BSO district command with an innovative idea: create a COP bike unit to increase visibility and accessibility of law enforcement in his community. Shortly after, Bill’s idea was implemented. Today, eight COP volunteers, including Bill, make up the LBTS bike unit. In their short time serving as an extra set of eyes and ears for law enforcement, they have produced successes. Members from the unit were at the Farmer’s Market in a local park when an 80-year-old man exhibited signs he was suffering a stroke. They immediately called emergency services and ensured help was on the way. The unit has also assisted searches for missing persons and even helped to remove a fish hook from an injured pelican.
The COPs carry on a proud tradition of cooperation between law enforcement and the citizens we serve. If you see one of these dedicated volunteer citizens, please take a moment to thank them for their time and efforts.
Together – BSO and neighbors – we make a great home team.
Sheriff Scott Israel
Certain Broward cities like Coral Springs maintain their own police departments, however, BSO does provide communications and dispatch services to the following cities: Central Broward, Cooper City, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Ft Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale. Oakland Park, Parkland, Pembroke Park, West Park, Pompano Beach, Port Everglades, Tamarac, Weston and unincorporated West Broward.