Letter to the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Review of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Grant-Related Activities finds Racial Disparities in Local Predictive Policing Program

CLASP is a member of the PASCO Coalition: People Against the Surveillance of Children & Over-Policing. This group, which includes local, state, and national advocacy organizations working alongside youth, parents, and educators, was formed in 2020 to end the use of police surveillance technologies in Florida public schools and to defend the civil and human rights of Florida youth against technology-driven harms. The coalition came together in response to the disturbing revelation that Pasco County schools shared sensitive, confidential student records with local law enforcement officials as part of a predictive policing program that subjects vulnerable youth to heightened police surveillance and enforcement activities.

CLASP and our partners in the PASCO Coalition have asked the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to end its support of Pasco County’s discriminatory predictive policing programs targeting Black and brown communities. This program is one of three DOJ-funded predictive policing programs in Pasco County. Since 2011, the county has engaged in such actions as interrogating youth without parental notification or legal representation, which likely increases disparities in exclusionary discipline, school-based arrest, and involuntary psychiatric detention.

The sheriff’s office admitted that its policing tactics were designed to force families to move or sue. To address the harmful impact of Pasco County’s predictive policing programs, the coalition urges the DOJ to:

  • issue additional stop-work orders to the Pasco sheriff’s office and school district for DOJ-funded activities;
  • conduct a Title VI investigation of all predictive policing programs to determine the impact on privacy and civil rights of impacted residents;
  • purge all personally identifying data from Pasco County’s Focused Deterrence Program and related predictive policing activities; and
  • prohibit the use of federal funds to support artificial intelligence or other data-driven technologies that violate civil and human rights.

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