Citizen patrol gets rolling, too
By B.C. Manion
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has moved its Lutz Community Station from its former location at 19002 First St. S.W. to a new space at 138-B Whitaker Road.
The new station is in the Lutz Landings Business Complex off US 41.
It will provide the same services as offered at the substation’s previous location near US 41 and Lutz-Lake Fern Road, said Deputy Tom Wesolowski. But it also will be used for the newly established Lutz Citizen Volunteer Patrol, Wesolowski said.
The substation’s new space is slightly larger, Wesolowski said.
Building owner Chuck Kaupp, who also is a member of the Lutz Citizen Volunteer Patrol, has been encouraging the sheriff’s office to move into the space for quite some time, Wesolowski said.
The owners of the buildings at Lutz Landings have chipped in to subsidize the sheriff’s office rent, so the department is paying a nominal rent and covering utilities, Kaupp said.
The Sheriff’s Office thought it was a good time to make the move, Wesolowski said.
“The owners of the building that we were in have had the building on the market for years,” Wesolowski said, so there was always some degree of uncertainty about how long it would remain in that building.
Services provided at the sheriff’s substation include:
– Fingerprinting for employment or to meet volunteer requirements (The service is free for Hillsborough County residents and is $10 per card for non-residents).
– Reporting of misdemeanor crimes, such as vandalism, fraud, identity theft and lost property
– Reporting a neighborhood problem
– Reporting of minor traffic accidents
The office serves an area that is generally bound on the west by North Dale Mabry Highway and east by US 301, on the north by County Line Road and on the south by Bearss Avenue.
Wesolowski said he wanted to get the word out about the office’s relocation to avoid inconveniencing anyone who needs the substation’s service.
“We did get quite a bit of traffic (at the old location),” he said.
Signs have been posted to inform people who drop by, but there’s no guarantee how long they will remain up, he said.
Wesolowski said the substation aims to give citizens a convenient place to get services and to voice any public safety concerns that they have. If someone is worried about safety in their neighborhood, for instance, they can drop by to share those concerns.
The office also helps citizens over the telephone, Wesolowski said. The number is (813) 264-8950.
Besides offering a service for citizens, the office also offers a location for detectives, street crime units and other Sheriff’s Office personnel to drop by when they are in the area to use the office space.
The office also is home to the headquarters of the new Lutz Citizen Patrol, which provides voluntary services to assist the sheriff’s office.
Members of the volunteer patrol help with traffic control, search for lost children and adults, handle the exchange of information for minor accidents, take care of vacation checks, do patrols of parking lots, schools, parks and other areas and help direct traffic around downed wires, accidents and other obstructions in the road.
The volunteer patrol in Lutz has seven members but could use more, Kaupp said.
Eddie Townsend, the leader of the Lutz volunteer patrol, said he has an interest in law enforcement and enjoys giving back to the community.
By handling various duties, the volunteer patrol members free up deputies to devote more time to responding to crimes, Townsend said.
He said being involved in the volunteer patrol has made him more aware of what deputies encounter and has given him a deeper level of appreciation for the work they do.
Substation Office Hours
The substation is generally open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Please call ahead to be sure someone is in the office because they may need to step out to handle a call. The number is (813) 264-8950
Must be 19 or older
Must have a valid driver’s license
Must pass a screening process
Must complete training course
Must attend monthly meetings
Must be willing to volunteer at least 12 hours a month
Anyone who would like to learn more about the volunteer citizens patrol should contact Lorraine Jordan at (813) 247-8223 or e-mail her at .
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.