NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodPunta Gorda

Actions

How the Charlotte Co. Sheriff's Office keeps you safe -- and yes, you can help!

The Real Time Intelligence Center is at the center of public safety efforts in Charlotte County. And there's a way you can volunteer with the agency to help keep your neighbors safe.
Posted at 9:41 PM, Mar 13, 2024

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — There are a lot of tools the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office uses to keep residents safe.

Fox 4's Punta Gorda Community Correspondent Alex Orenczuk is one of those residents, and he got a good look at some of those efforts as he joined the latest Citizens Police Academy class for a day, Wednesday.

“It's behind the scenes at the Sheriff’s office,” said Tammy Wilkie, CCSO Community Affairs Specialist. “I’ve been doing this for about eight years now and every class we do I learn something new.”

The CPA teaches attendees a range of tactics and equipment used to prevent, investigate and solve crimes.

Attendees got to meet with Sheriff Bill Prummell and other command staff on the first day, then got a personal presentation on how detectives crack cold cases.

SUNSHINE CRIMES SERIES: Lee Co. detectives still working to identify a Jane Doe and killer three decades later
PREVIOUS REPORTING: The unusual deck of cards that SWFL CrimeStoppers deals to inmates

But the highlight of the class was the tour of the agency's Real Time Intelligence Center (RTIC). RTIC is a room equipped with surveillance gear that can help monitor crime and relay information to deputies as it happens.

“RTIC is the backbone of our agency,” said Corporal Chris Rentas. “It's the greatest thing that could happen to law enforcement. That information has our deputies solving crimes a lot faster and more efficiently. Not only that, but it provides them with more information so the stressful environment that they are accustomed to is diminished because they have more information to work with.”

“RTIC is the backbone of our agency. It's the greatest thing that could happen to law enforcement."
Corporal Chris Rentas, Charlotte County Sheriff's Office
Charlotte County Sheriff's Office investigation

Other classes throughout the five-week course will show students other resources including the jail, dive team, K-9 teams, forensics, narcotics and active shooter protocols.

Material learned in the CPA class can also help students decide to volunteer with the sheriff's office. Those volunteers help the agency in a variety of ways from parking enforcement, traffic control, outreach programs, administrative work and more.

Joy Roberts said she took the class seven years ago and has volunteered ever since.

“When I did the CPA class to begin with I really enjoyed seeing all the different aspects,” said Roberts. “Now I’m an admin, I’m here for the CPA, and wherever I’m needed is what I do.

For those interested in taking the CPA course, you can apply online. The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office is hosting another class this summer.