SCSO Facebook Live Chat on school safety part of Sheriff Dennis Lemma's initiative to help citizens feel safe

How Safe Are We? investigative reports / Headline SurferHeadline Surfer photo illustration / Safety on Seminole County roads and in local schools with a recent Facebook Live Chat session is part of part of Sheriff Dennis Lemma's ongoing initiatives to educate citizens on his law enforcement agency's efforts to improve safety. 
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SANFORD, Fla. -- The Seminole County Sheriff's Office held a Facebook live chat session on Tuesday regarding school safety and security.

It is the latest in Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma's ongoing effort to help educate citizens and help alleviate their fears about how safe they are despite news media reports of violent crimes.

Though violent crime totals in Seminole County are by far the lowest compared to neighboring counties along the I-4 corridor, Orange to the southwest and Volusia to the northeast, its own violent crime rate increased 10.5 percent in 2016, according to figures compiled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Violent Crime less in Seminole County than in Orange & Volusia counties / Headline SurferHeadline Surfer infographic by Henry Frederick / Statistical data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for calendar year 2016.

Orange County's violent crime rate was nearly double Seminole County’s and Volusia County's was nearly one third higher than Seminole County’s violent crime rate.

 The violent crime rate throughout Florida decreased 3.5 percent in 2016, and that's including last year's Pulse nightclub massacre where 49 people were shot to death and dozens more were injured.

Violent crime rose overall, nationwide 5.3 percent in the first six months of 2016, according to the Uniform Crime Reports compiled by the FBI. That does not include the Pulse massacre, which occurred June 12, 2016 (12 days after the mid-year cutoff for the semi-annual reports).

In addition to periodic Facebook chats on public safety and awareness, Seminole County's first-year sheriff, Dennis Lemma, also is continuing the law enforcement agency's crime mapping initiative. This electronic program plots crimes on a map in real time using crime figures and is accessible online.

And Sheriff Dennis Lemma says that deputies on patrol are encouraged to get out of their vehicles in between calls and start conversations now and then with citizens to see how they are doing and to inquire about any concerns the citizens might have about public safety and crime issues.

"Sheriff Lemma is always preaching interaction with the citizens," Deputy Fred Hilaire said. "We get tips occasionally and most people feel safe seeing us. It's good to get out of the patrol car and stretch your legs. You never know when something important is passed along." 

Deputy Fred Hilaire with Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma / Headline SurferDeputy Fred Hilaire (left) is shown with Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma earlier this year in this SCSO photo receiving a life saving award for his actions in saving the lives of two women in separate incidents: utilizing a defibrillator to revive an unresponsive female found lying on the side of a road and for administering Narcan spray to a female who overdosed on heroin.

"Sheriff Lemma is always preaching interaction with the citizens," Deputy Fred Hilaire said. "We get tips occasionally and most people feel safe seeing us. It's good to get out of the patrol car and stretch your legs. You never know when something important is passed along." 

With social media initiatives like Facebook live chats and electronic crime mapping, as well as encouraging deputies to interact more with the citizens, Sheriff Lemma remains vigilant about reducing Seminole County's violent crime rates, already lower than neighboring counties Orange and Volusia, even more Hilaire said. 


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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.