Osceola County. – While all eyes are on Hurricane Ian, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office monitors and stays active in our streets to ensure the public safety of all citizens. Tracking what this storm may mean to our community is a priority as well as reminding you what measures we will be taking when Osceola County sees the potential impacts of this hurricane. “We have come together to take care of all of our residents, and we will continue to work tirelessly and efficiently to serve the communities we have sworn to serve and protect,” said Sheriff Marcos Lopez. “We will ensure that we take all steps necessary to keep everyone safe,” assured Sheriff Lopez.
Here are some of the actions, alerts, and advisories we want to share:
• To render aid and ensure public safety we have activated extra deputies to patrol the streets of Osceola County 24 hours per day for as long as the storm is a threat to our safety.
• Deputies as well as civilian staff have been tasked with additional assignments for the duration of the hurricane.
• We have increased the number of dispatchers/operators responding to emergency calls.
• Deputies will be safeguarding shelters. Of note, sex offenders will have shelter in a different location than all residents. Sex offenders can seek shelter at Osceola County Courthouse at 2 Courthouse Sq, Kissimmee, FL 3474. Sex offenders can register at that site with an ID.
• If you want to help any residents or homeless you know who don’t have access to this information, please share or let us know if they might need help.
• Storms/Hurricanes bring an opportunity for looting; if you suspect stolen goods, please report it by calling our office, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, at 1 (800) 423-8477 or using our Online Reporting at https://sheriff-forms.osceolasheriff.org/Forms/Coplogic.
• State law prohibits excessive prices of essential commodities such as food, water, hotel rooms, or gasoline. If anyone suspects price gouging, report it by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM, filing online at www.MyFloridaLegal.com
Enhancement for crimes committed during State Emergency:
• During this state of emergency, crimes for theft, robbery, and burglary are classified as one degree higher. For example, if you are charged with grand theft in the third degree, the offense becomes a second-degree felony when committed during a state of emergency. This means instead of facing up to 5 years in prison, the thief will be facing up to 15 years in prison.
• If you are charged with burglary of an unoccupied structure during a state of emergency, the crime is charged as a second-degree felony instead of a third-degree felony – Again, the thief is looking at a max of 15 years in prison, rather than 5 years.
Key things you should have prepared in the event of a major storm or hurricane:
• Create an evacuation plan
• Build an emergency kit with water, perishable food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area, and emergency contact information.
• Be informed.
• Call 911 for an emergency.
We encourage all residents to stay updated through the Osceola County Emergency Management website www.readyosceola.org as well as the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office official Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/osceolasheriff/, as well as the National Weather Service site https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/#Ian For more information, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office will join Osceola County Emergency Management to provide an update on Hurricane Ian.