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Task Force Focuses on Brevard County Safety

The task force, "Game Over Task Force," consists of city, state and federal agencies working together to promote the safety of Central Florida residents. As of June 1, 2012, they had initiated the arrests of more than 700 violent and dangerous criminals.

A typical day for task force members might include the surveillance of residential homes in order to prevent burglaries. In one situation, they surrounded the suspects who surrendered their weapons without resistance as they left the victim's home. Jawaun Graham and Tibia Hair were found guilty of committing armed burglary with a firearm. 

Brevard County Sheriff's Office representative Jack Parker related that the task force has demonstrated effectiveness in finding criminals quickly to make communities safer. In addition, the coalition of agencies provides services to law enforcement personnel in other counties.

The purpose of the team is to streamline productivity for all police agencies in the county. In the past, each agency had its own task force, which was costly, especially for smaller law enforcement organizations. By pooling personnel and resources, the agency can effectively cut down on costs while providing an organized service for the area.

The exact number of arrests has been tallied at 720 criminals since the inception of the program in 2008.

Now, a new law will keep some of those offenders in custody for longer periods of time. The legislation mandates that if a convicted felon with a violent history is rearrested with a gun in his possession, he will automatically serve a 10-year prison sentence.

In practical terms, this means that judges will scrutinize criminal histories more closely at initial appearances. The judges will look at the circumstances surrounding the arrest before releasing convicted felons and when setting bail amounts.

According to Parker, felons will hear about the mandatory sentence and will think twice before committing new crimes. Posters addressing the new law will inform those in jail of the consequences of continuing to commit violent offenses.

Based on the success rate of the "Game Over Task Force," other law enforcement organizations throughout Florida are setting up similar coalitions for enhanced criminal defense

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