To 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.
The Automated Record Management System (ARMS) Unit is responsible for entering offense and incident reports into the Augmented Criminal Information Support System (ACISS). Members of this unit work around the clock entering data provided by deputies into the ACISS database to document criminal and non-criminal investigations. Last year this unit completed nearly 105,000 Sheriff’s Office reports.
The Validation Unit is responsible for confirming that all information entered into the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC) database is accurate. This information includes all entries pertaining to missing persons, and a wide variety of stolen items such as firearms, vehicles, and jewelry.
The Records Request Unit handles all public records requests pertaining to offense, incident, and traffic crash reports. This unit also satisfies requests for local criminal background checks. Last year this unit processed about 91,000 public records requests.
Public record requests can be made in person at the Sheriff’s Administration Building located at 10750 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Requests can also be made over the telephone by calling (727) 582-6200 and selecting option #2. Some reports contain information that is confidential or exempt from release by law, and therefore will be redacted from a report before the record is made available. In accordance with Florida Statute 119.07 a nominal fee may be charged for obtaining some records. Copies of some reports, specifically traffic crash reports, are available online by following the “Accident Report Download” link on our website at www.pcsoweb.com.
For additional information about the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Records Division, please contact Records Supervisor Pam Parker-Manning at (727) 582-6281. Professional record management is just one more way we are striving to achieve our goal of “Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas.”