Five Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies were sworn in as special deputy U.S. marshals and assigned to separate federal task forces on terrorism and violent crime Monday.
Fusion Center Director Thomas Storrar, Sgt. Ron Byington, Sgt. Scott Forth, Cpl. James Dillman, and Cpl. Dale Meek were sworn in, along with other law enforcement officers from the Middle District of Florida, at a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at the U. S. Marshal’s Office in the federal courthouse in Fort Myers.
“Having deputies serving as special deputy U.S. marshals to participate in federal task force efforts expands the Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s jurisdiction to investigate suspected terrorist activity and violent crime in Southwest Florida, while strengthening our partnerships with federal law enforcement agencies,’’ Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk said.
Storrar was assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which investigates tips and suspicious activity related to domestic and international terrorism. CCSO has a vested interest in the prevention of terrorist activity in our area. Currently one CCSO member is assigned to the JTTF full time.
The FBI Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF) conducts long-term investigations targeting violent offenders or groups of violent offenders in Southwest Florida. The assignments of Byington, Forth, Dillman and Meek to this task force will help to broaden CCSO’s powers to remove violent offenders from the streets of our community, making our area safer for all of us.
CCSO receives federal funding to support all of these investigations, including overtime worked. Task force members are also assigned a federally funded vehicle for individual or shared use, providing further savings to the citizens of Collier County.
As a result of Monday’s swearing-in ceremony, 42 CCSO deputies now have federal credentials.
Three deputies are assigned to the FBI Innocent Images Task Force (IITF), which conducts proactive cyber investigations to identify and apprehend individuals who trade in child pornography or predators that would lure a child for sexual activity. Currently, one CCSO member is assigned to the IITF full time. CCSO receives federal funding to support these investigations, including overtime worked by this member. This member is also assigned a federally funded vehicle. The CCSO Investigations Department chief and Special Investigations Division captain are part-time members of this task force and assist with physical operations such as search warrants and arrests.
Thirty four deputies have been trained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to identify criminal aliens and initiate removal proceedings from the United States. The training is allowed under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This partnership has assisted CCSO in reducing crime in Collier County and lowering the jail population.
And 11 CCSO deputies are currently processing to be sworn in as members of the U.S. Marshal’s warrants task force to expand their jurisdiction to capture dangerous fugitives.
Having these deputies become a part of this task force will allow CCSO to use federal resources in tracking and locating individuals with active felony warrants out of Collier County. It will allow the CCSO members who are a part of the task force to travel to surrounding jurisdictions during investigations without having to rely on another agency’s availability.