Florida Rep. Gaetz calls on Gov. DeSantis to remove Sheriff for using intelligence program to predict crime

Florida Rep. Gaetz calls on Gov. DeSantis to remove Sheriff for using intelligence program to predict crime

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., called on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to remove Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco over an intelligence program that his department uses to predict crime

Four Florida residents sued the sheriff’s office this week, claiming that they were harassed or arrested by deputies who were using the program. 

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office uses the intelligence program to analyze arrest histories and other data to predict which residents are most likely to commit crimes in the future, according to an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times

But Gaetz and others argue that the program oversteps the bounds of appropriate law enforcement. 

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“I don’t care that this is being done by a GOP Sheriff,” Gaetz tweeted Thursday. “Its (sic) awful to harass citizens because you think they may commit crimes, hoping to ‘make their lives miserable.'”

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian nonprofit, explains that the sheriff’s office uses a “crude computer algorithm” to place people on a list of potential criminals. 

Deputies are then “sent out to monitor, intimidate and harass people on the list.”

“The program has unfolded like a dystopian nightmare for the Pasco County residents it has ensnared, who have been subjected to near-constant police surveillance and harassment,” the Institute for Justice writes

“The Sheriff’s use of predictive policing is not only methodologically shaky; it’s unconstitutional. The government cannot harass you in your home just because it has decided that you or someone you live with might someday do something wrong.”

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A spokesperson for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office told the Tampa Bay Times that the department looks “forward to defending any lawsuits in which we may be named in the proper venue and will not be party to litigation via the media.”

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment Saturday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.