Sheriff William Snyder’s tactical team focuses on crimes committed outside the country

MARTIN COUNTY – There’s no escaping Sheriff William Snyder’s message to criminals when driving around the county on Interstate 95 or US 1.


It is plastered on billboards and appears frequently on social media.

“I was like randomly, ‘Dude, this is not the right exit to go down. “Because we have been hammering out people from out of county who have committed crimes here,” Snyder said. “We had been on a streak at the time. It was just arrest after arrest.

He said he had used the slogan for years, but once thought about expanding the campaign as he drove to work.

The motto underscores the emphasis the sheriff’s office has placed on crimes committed by people whose listed residence is outside of Martin County. His office has been using the hashtag on social media since May.

He said inter-county crime is most commonly reported in areas near I-95.

“The itinerant criminal will go anywhere in the county, but they don’t like to stray very far from interstate exits and entrances on the toll highway or the toll highway exit,” Snyder said. “They like to go out in Palm City. They are not as common in Stuart or Jensen because they are not near the freeway.

MPs are posted on purpose and often make arrests near the Kanner Freeway and Southwest Martin Freeway exits, he said.

This Martin County Sheriff's Office notice board is on US 1 as commuters travel to Stuart from Jensen Beach on October 21, 2021. The motto highlights the Sheriff's Office's focus on crimes committed by persons whose listed residence is outside Martin County.  MCSO has been using the hashtag on social media since May.

Special unit focuses on “model crimes”

Snyder said he had appointed a specialized team to arrest people from outside the county accused of local crimes and supported proposed legislation to face tougher prosecutions.

The Tact team makes arrests chasing cars linked to burglaries based on information shared by the South Florida Burglary Task Force.

The task force is sharing vehicle and suspect information between Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucia and Indian River counties, Snyder said.

“We just have to be aggressive. If all you want to do is sit under a shade tree and watch it happen, you won’t catch these guys, ”Snyder said. “You have to be hungry for that. Motivated, that’s what we push and hope for.

Related: Overall crime in Treasure Coast declined in 2020, but has COVID-19 been factored in?

And: Two Sheriff Candidates Call for Changes to Martin County Sheriff’s Office

The Tact team, formed 18 months ago, is made up of four detectives and a sergeant, the sheriff said.

The “typical crimes” that Snyder said his team focuses on are car burglaries, residential burglaries, auto thefts, motor boat thefts, fraud and big gas thefts.

“So their job is to search and destroy,” Snyder said. “Their job is to find these perpetrators, but then a follow-up would be done by detectives from the criminal investigations. They are the catch and catcher and then it is entrusted to a specialized unit… They drop them off and go hunting again.

The team is trained in car chase techniques by initiating non-chase car stops, Snyder said, and typically travel near freeway exits on I-95.

“We have some pretty aggressive techniques to stop cars without chases,” Snyder said. “They chose to go to special schools. And they work with the task force.

Working with legislators

Between May 1 and September 14, MPs arrested 255 people from outside Martin County, the sheriff said. He didn’t know what percentage came from other counties in Florida and from outside the state.

He said car break-ins were the most common charges related to arrests, but other charges included drug trafficking and fraud.

MPs carried out the arrests by conducting roadside checks and apprehending people committing a crime, Snyder said.

The sheriff said his office had worked with the state legislature to amend what he described as the “itinerant criminals” bill.

Sheriff’s son, Rep. John Snyder (R-Hobe Sound) is working to facilitate prosecutors’ ability to bolster charges against those accused of burglary across counties.

Florida law already allows such improvements, but requires prosecutors to prove the accused intended to “thwart law enforcement attempts to trace the items stolen in the burglary” by committing a felony outside of their county of residence.

John Snyder

HB 6037, proposed by John Snyder, removes this language and allows prosecutors to use these enhancements without having to prove intent.

“What we are doing today is removing this trap that has prevented any prosecutor from being able to bring this charge successfully,” John Snyder said in a presentation to a legislative committee in October.

The state official said that no prosecutor had succeeded in adding improvements to the current wording of the bill.

“Regardless of that initial charge, if you cross county lines to commit it, it’s increased by one degree,” John Snyder told TC Palm.

Officials from the Florida ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the Florida State Conference of NAACP oppose the bill.

“At a time when we need to work to safely reduce the prison population… this bill would increase it,” said Neisha-Rose Hines, criminal justice policy strategist for the ACLU Florida. “The staffing needs (of the prison) will not be addressed positively by increasing the penalties imposed on people simply for arbitrarily crossing a line of latitude or longitude. “

Snyder said he sees his #WrongExit more as an insurance than a warning.

Not all arrests of someone outside of Martin County are made public, Elder Snyder said.

He said he wanted residents of Martin County to know that his deputies’ work was reducing crime in the county by publicizing his office’s focus on arrests of people outside his jurisdiction.

“#WrongExit is not a slogan. It’s really not a slogan. It’s a philosophy, ”Snyder said. “Our philosophy is that we are here to keep our streets safe. If you’re going to work today and left your house with the doors locked, I want you to come home and find all your possessions.

Mauricio La Plante is a late-breaking reporter for TCPalm focusing on Martin County. Follow him on Twitter @mslaplantenews or email him at [email protected]

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