Pensacola, Florida
Sunday December 21st 2014

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Outtakes—Safe Neighborhoods

On Tuesday, Dec. 17, the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office announced that they arrested 93 wanted felons in a street-level sweep dubbed as “Operation Reindeer Games.”

In just four days over 120 warrants were served, three firearms seized, over 1000 grams of various drugs and $240 in counterfeit bills were confiscated, a stolen car was recovered, and three active meth labs were shutdown.

This sweep was the latest, but not the last, conducted as part of Sheriff David Morgan’s crackdown on violent offenders with the help of the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force. The agencies’ shared goal has been to make the people in the community feel safer.

Operation Reindeer Games came just two weeks after Sheriff Morgan held a press conference to announce the success of another warrant sweep, also conducted with the U.S. Marshals Task Force, which had produced 61 arrests on a total of 76 charges.

The 154 arrests made during the sweeps are step in the right direction in making our streets and neighborhoods safer. We need more of these sweeps. If the joint task force wants to start another the day after Christmas, we will be cheering for them.

The reality for some of the neighborhoods is that they aren’t safe. The “drug boys” and their “jits” control city and county blocks as they service their customers that stop by their drug houses. They have been known to swarm the cars of residents just driving through the neighborhood, mistaking them for customers. The criminals control the neighborhood, not the city or county.

Some of the elderly residents in those neighborhoods, many who have lived on those blocks most of their adult lives, are afraid to leave their homes and worry about break-ins when they do. They tell me that they have called the Pensacola Police and Escambia Sheriff’s Office asking for help. Nothing happens, other than maybe a suggestion to form a neighborhood watch.

Sweeps with catchy names like Reindeer Games and Gunsmoke do offer them some comfort, but it would be more assuring if those arrests were made in their neighborhoods and on their blocks.

My intent is not to bash law enforcement, but to encourage them to step it up even further. If there isn’t enough money in the budget to do it, tell the community how much more you need and we will push for it.

Let’s build on the success of Operation Reindeer Games and make all our streets and neighborhoods safer.