Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco took over in 2011 and set out to transform the Sheriff’s Office into a cutting-edge data-driven machine. The result is an intelligence operation that monitors, intimidates and harasses families across the county.
Read the investigation
Pasco’s sheriff uses data to guess who will commit crime. Then deputies ‘hunt down’ and harass them.
Sept. 3, 2020
Interactive: How a Florida Sheriff harasses families. Watch the body-cam video
Sept. 3, 2020
Pasco’s sheriff uses grades and abuse histories to secretly label schoolchildren potential criminals
Nov. 22, 2020
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco has a controversial approach — and powerful friends who don’t question it
Dec. 24, 2020
The response: Here’s what the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office had to say about our September investigation
Jan. 19, 2021: Congressman urges federal probe of Pasco school data program
“This use of student records goes against the letter and the spirit of (the federal student privacy law) and risks subjecting students, especially Black and Latino students, to excessive law enforcement interactions and stigmatization,” he said.
Activists in Pasco County are renewing calls for a citizen board to review allegations of police misconduct following a Tampa Bay Times investigation into the Sheriff’s Office’s use of data in policing.
Dec. 19, 2020: Privacy nonprofit: Pasco sheriff’s use of student data breaks federal law, school district contracts
A national digital privacy think tank said the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and Pasco County schools must immediately change a program that uses student data to identify potential future criminals to comply with federal law.
The comments followed a Times investigation that revealed the Sheriff’s Office was using grades to compile a list of kids at-risk of becoming criminals. “People post stuff to the internet,” he said.
Pasco County parents and teachers are calling for changes to a secretive Sheriff’s Office program that uses student data to profile schoolchildren as potential future criminals, with some demanding the practice be stopped entirely.
Times reporters asked the district and school board members for comment multiple times about the secret Sheriff’s Office program that identifies potential criminals using student data. Here is what they said.
One public interest law firm has sent mailers, looking for plaintiffs for a potential lawsuit against the policing agency. Several prominent civil rights groups are weighing legal action and public advocacy campaigns. The moves will bring a new level of scrutiny to Sheriff Chris Nocco’s intelligence-led policing initiative, which has grown for almost a decade with little notice or oversight.
About the reporters
Reach out to us: To tell us about your experiences with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and its intelligence-led policing program, email Kathleen McGrory at [email protected] and Neil Bedi at [email protected]. You can also use the encrypted messaging app, Signal, to contact the Tampa Bay Times investigations team at (727) 892-2944. For additional contact options, go to tampabay.com/tips.
- Editor: Adam Playford
- Video editing: Jennifer Glenfield
- Additional data analysis Connie Humburg
- Print design: Sean Kristoff-Jones
- Digital design: Neil Bedi