Sheriff Tom Knight (second from right) signs Warrant Service Officer Agreement along with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd (left), Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells (second from left), and Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson (right).
Sheriff's Office Signs Warrant Service Officer Agreement
NEWS RELEASE 19-073
Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight along with several Florida sheriffs signed an agreement Monday to adopt the Warrant Service Officer Program in partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to aid in the continued removal of criminal illegal aliens from Florida jails.
The Warrant Service Officer Agreement, an initiative led by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, equips specially-designated corrections deputies with the training, certification and authorization from ICE to serve and execute administrative orders of arrest against criminal illegal aliens who are housed in a correctional facility, at their time of release on local charges. The purpose of the initiative is to authorize deputies who already work within the correctional setting to execute federal warrants in real-time so criminal illegal aliens cannot be released back into the community. The Warrant Service Officer Agreement supplements the Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) that Sheriff Knight and 16 other Florida sheriffs signed in January 2018, which enables local jails to hold detainees for up to 48 hours when a federal warrant is issued by ICE. The Warrant Service Officer Agreement takes the initiative a step further by equipping local law enforcement with the capability of executing those federal warrants before the detainee can make it outside the jail.
During a news conference Monday morning, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri commented, “This is entirely about public safety and about law enforcement working together.”
Sheriff Knight echoes those thoughts and is careful to explain the specifics behind the initiative. “This program equips deputies with the specific authorization to execute warrants on criminal illegal aliens who are already in our custody. My hope is that by executing federal warrants at the local level, we can really put a stop to criminal illegal aliens re-entering Sarasota County. Agreements like these take courage and collaboration and really speak to the partnership Florida sheriffs have with state and federal law enforcement.”
Since Sheriff Knight took office in 2009, the sheriff’s office has partnered with ICE to facilitate the removal of 545 criminal illegal aliens from the Sarasota County Jail, averaging more than 50 removals a year. On Monday, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office became one of the first 10 law enforcement agencies in the U.S. to sign into the Warrant Service Officer Agreement.