TAMPA, Fla. — There will be more police officers patrolling Tampa Halloween night, according to the police chief.
It is part of a city-wide Halloween celebration and it also wraps up their Neighborhood Night Out month. Last year during Halloween Tampa PD focused on Southeast Seminole Heights. Various community leaders walked with parents and kids to help them feel safe. At that time, a murderer had not been caught that had tragically targeted several people in the neighborhood.
Chief Brian Dugan said everyone’s efforts turned into a positive event that evening and that is why he wanted to do the event this year on a much bigger scale. He said people will notice their presence everywhere in the city of Tampa.
Stephanie Torres is trick or treating with her two children tonight. She said she is glad to know there will be more officers protecting the streets. Chief Dugan said he adjusted his officers' hours in order to have more officers working tonight.
“Usually it’s a group of us. I don’t like usually going by myself so the bigger the crowd, the more intimidating we are,” Torres said.
If you are headed out on Halloween, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would like you to download their free app.
FDLE Special Agent in Charge, Mark Brutnell, said the app has a feature aimed at helping protect your children from sex offenders. He said you will be able to look at a map and plan your route.
“This just gives you one more tool to see where they are in relation to where you are,” Brutnell said.
The map shows people the location of their homes.
“If (you are) not familiar with your surroundings this gives you the ability to know your surroundings, which is very important,” Brutnell said.
The FDLE developed the app. It has other features, including a section where you can report suspicious activity.
“That’s you giving us an extra set of eyes and ears in the community. We can’t hear or see everything so we have to rely on the public to send us information,” Brutnell said.
Both the FDLE and TPD said agencies working together makes a difference in making sure registered sex offenders are abiding by the law. They said they work with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office as well.