This story originally aired in February 2019 in reference to the 2018 elections. Sheriff Chronister's campaign just accepted another $3,000 from these companies on 10/09/2020 for the 2020 elections.
Following the money: Company that owns red light cameras contributed over $1M into Florida politics (via WFTS)
Why did the Sheriff accept a donation from a highly controversial Red Light camera company?
Cease and Desist
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
The Sheriffs Office should get back to the business of Law Enforcement and not bullying political candidates. TeamHCSO2020.com is still alive and well, and this is just a glimpse of the government waste that occurs there everyday.
To Whom It May Concern:
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, FL (HCSO) requests the domain name TeamHCSO2020.com be cancelled, as it creates a public safety issue. This domain name is confusing, has no legitimate purpose and was acquired in bad faith.
Since 1845, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has utilized the moniker "HCSO". Much like other large law enforcement agencies in America, such as NYPD or LAPD, the name HCSO is synonymous with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and more importantly, it is known as the local law enforcement agency. HCSO has a legitimate public safety concern in ensuring its name is known and readily available to those who may need our services.
HCSO is responsible for law enforcement services throughout all of Hillsborough County. Additionally, it operates two jail facilities, a work release center and provides courthouse security. HCSO currently has almost 3,500 employees; a communications center that receives 1.6 million calls annually (458,000 of which are emergency 911 calls); answers nearly 800,000 calls for service; and is the primary law enforcement agency in Hillsborough County. Importantly, HCSO relies on the clarity of it’s name, while serving the public’s emergency needs.
The manner that HCSO has handled its "911" communications throughout the years is an example of how important consistency and clarity have been for HCSO. In 1989, HCSO created a communications center to handle all emergency 911 calls. In an effort to maintain consistency and maximize efficiency, HCSO maintained all pre-911 emergency phone numbers and routed them to the newly created emergency "911" call center. Later, with the advent of the internet the need to provide new forms of communications arose. Therefore, new methods of contacting HCSO were created, such as a new official web address "www.hcso.tampa.fl.us" and a "Text to 911" application.
In 2019, during an effort to maintain name consistency and also improve communication efficiency, HCSO began the process of simplifying the web address. The web domain "www.hcso.tampa.fl.us" was simplified to "TeamHCSO" and it began to phase out the lengthy moniker "HCSO.tampa.fl.us". In order to brand itself as "TeamHCSO" multiple domain names were purchased from GoDaddy on 6/13/2019, such names include: teamhcso.biz, teamhcso.co , teamhcso.com , teamhcso.info , teamhcso.io , teamhcso.mobi , teamhcso.net , teamhcso.online, teamhcso.org , teamhcso.team.
On July 1, 2019, HCSO began using "teamhcso.com" as it’s public website. Further, HCSO updated its email server on June 27, 2019 and started creating email addresses for all of it’s employees under the "TeamHCSO.com" domain. Finally, HCSO published its TeamHCSO mobile application on October 22, 2019. Maintaining consistency in the name (HCSO) and purpose (public safety) has been the forefront of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office since 1845.
In 2018, Gary Pruitt unsuccessfully ran for the elected office of Sheriff of Hillsborough County. On December 22, 2019, Gary Pruitt, or his proxy, purchased the nearly identical
"TeamHCSO2020.com"domain name with the intent to align the candidate’s name with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) name and reputation. Currently, TeamHCSO2020.com directs to a political candidate’s website and not the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. There is no legitimate purpose for such a website, other than to improperly align the candidate to the existing office and its reputation. The candidate clearly acquired the confusingly similar domain name with the intent to falsely, and in bad faith, make it seem as if he is either the incumbent candidate or otherwise align with the organization’s name and reputation in the community.
A delay in a citizen’s ability to reach the only authentic law enforcement agency creates an unnecessary public safety risk, to the citizen’s of Hillsborough County, that should not be allowed to exist through a confusing domain name. In order to protect the citizens of Hillsborough County, the domain name TeamHCSO2020.com which was acquired in bad faith, which has no legitimate purpose, should be cancelled as to not confuse the public regarding the primary law enforcement agency in the county, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). Thank you for your consideration,
Marc S. Makholm
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
2008 East 8th Avenue
Post Office Box 3371
Tampa, FL 33601
"Defending those who protect us"