F.A.Q.S.

About the Broward Sheriff's Office

  
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Effective April 15th, 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigations will no longer accept finger print cards. Until equipment is obtained by the Broward Sheriff’s Office to offer live-scan fingerprints, we can no longer offer fingerprint services at our district offices. We apologize for any inconvenience.


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BSO's Evidence Unit receives, catalogs and stores evidentiary, abandoned, forfeited and lost property in accordance with state and local law which also specifies when such property can be disposed of or discarded. The Evidence Unit presently stores more than 350,000 items in its Ft. Lauderdale warehouse.

In the past, BSO held periodic Sheriff’s Sales where this property was sold to the highest bidder. Today, BSO sells it online!

Several times each year, BSO transfers such property to PropertyRoom.com, an online auctioneer that handles the disposal of property from law enforcement agencies across the county.

As part of PropertyRoom.com's service, a registration database called StealitBack.com helps users recover stolen property by matching serial numbers on stolen property with those in PropertyRoom.com's database. By cross-referencing the numbers, PropertyRoom.com determines if an item was reported stolen and returns it to BSO or to the appropriate police agency. Private citizens are invited to register on www.StealitBack.com any items with serial numbers they have lost or reported stolen to their local police department.

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The Broward Sheriff’s Office serves more than 554,000 Broward County residents with law enforcement services and is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country with 5,400 employees. To find out if you reside in a district served by BSO, click here for a list of BSO districts.

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Complaints may be accepted by any BSO supervisor or you may contact the Division of Internal Affairs directly. Complaints may be received verbally or in writing and in person, by telephone, by mail or by electronic means. One option is the Public Complaint Form attached to the Division of Internal Affairs brochure which is available in all public access areas of BSO facilities.

Click here to file a complaint regarding a BSO employee

Additional information is available on our web site, and you may also contact the Division of Internal Affairs:

Ron Cochran Public Safety Building
2601 West Broward Blvd., 1st Floor
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(954) 321-1100

During non-business hours, complaints may be directed to BSO's Communications Center at (954) 764-HELP (4357) or any BSO supervisor.

How can I commend a BSO employee for outstanding service?

If you received extraordinary service from a BSO employee, or witnessed something that deserves special recognition, we encourage you to tell us so we may share your thoughts with that employee(s) and with the BSO family. Your appreciation and encouragement are important to us.

Click here for information on submitting your commendation.

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Reporting Crimes

  
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BSO’s Victim Services Unit was established to render assistance to crime victims and witnesses. The unit offers a variety of programs designed to meet the special needs of those who have been exposed to crimes.

The Broward Sheriff's Office Victim / Witness Handbook includes information on your rights and other helpful information. Contact the unit at (954) 321-4200 or visit your local BSO district office to request a copy.


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Call Broward County Crime Stoppers immediately at (954) 493-TIPS.

For many years, Crime Stoppers' tip lines have been used successfully as a tool for citizens to anonymously report information regarding crimes. During this time of heightened awareness of the threats of terrorism, Crime Stoppers is prepared to handle terrorism-related calls as well.

In keeping with Crime Stoppers policy, callers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $15,000 if the information provided leads to an arrest.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security works to anticipate, preempt, detect and deter threats to the homeland and to safeguard our people and their freedoms, critical infrastructure, property and the economy of our nation from acts of terrorism, natural disasters and other emergencies. Click here for more information.


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A sexual assault crime is any sexual act committed against a person's will and includes rape, incest, unwanted touching and indecent exposure. Sexual battery requires penetration.

Victims and attackers of sexual assault crimes are from all ages and backgrounds. Attackers are usually someone the victim knows: a partner, friend or family member, but can also be strangers.

It's important to remember that sexual assault is not the victim's fault and no one deserves to be sexually assaulted.

If you are a victim, remember these important things:

  • Get to a safe place, a friend's or neighbor's house or any place where people can give you emotional support.
  • Don't shower, douche, brush your teeth or change clothes. This may be difficult for you but it's important. Doing any of these things could destroy medical evidence.
  • Report the attack as soon as possible by calling BSO or your local police department. Reporting attacks is an important part of ending violence against women.
  • Even if you don't believe you're injured, you should protect your health. Seek medical testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and address any concerns about pregnancy.
    • When you report a rape, an evidence examination will occur. The exam involves removing clothing in a way that preserves evidence, performing a physical and vaginal exam and documenting any injuries, possibly with photos.
    • Following the exam, law enforcement personnel will ask questions about the attacker's identity and the details of the assault. Some questions may need to be answered more than once.
    • This procedure is not easy for many women following a rape, but it's crucial if the attacker is to be successfully prosecuted.

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Experience has shown the first 60 seconds of every 9-1-1 call are the most critical. Operators need to determine the exact location of the emergency, the nature of the situation, whether anyone is injured and about what elements a responding officer should be advised. A deputy armed with this information can react quickly and accurately and minimize the chance that further damage will occur or innocent bystanders will be hurt.

In any threatening emergency, immediately dial 9-1-1 from any telephone (the call is free from all pay phones). For non-emergency law enforcement needs, please call the Broward Sheriff's Office at (954) 765-4321.


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If you are a crime victim or if you witness a crime, your observations can lead to a faster resolution of the case.

When you report a crime, a Broward Sheriff's Office Communications Operator will ask you to describe the suspect(s) you observed. NEVER place your personal safety or the safety of those around you in jeopardy to get a better description of a subject, but if possible, make a mental picture of the suspect(s) by scanning the individual(s) from top to bottom, and outside to inside.

Note the most obvious information first: race, sex, approximate age, weight and height. Then note hair and eye color, complexion and any distinguishing features such as glasses, scars, facial hair, etc.

Notice what the person is wearing, starting with the outside layer of clothing. Many times a suspect may remove outerwear to elude law enforcement officers.

If you're describing a vehicle, remember the acronym CYMBALS:

C - color
Y - year
M - make
B - body
A - additional descriptive features
L - license
S - state


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During a break-in, the safety of you and your loved ones should be your primary concern, not the protection of your property. No possession is worth risking a human life.

If someone is breaking into your home, you and those in the house should leave immediately. Choose an exit, a window or door, that is safely away from the intruder. Go to a neighbor's home and dial 9-1-1.

If you cannot escape, quickly move everyone into one room that has a phone and lock and barricade the door. Immediately call 9-1-1 and be prepared to give the operator your address and other details including the color of your house, location of any fencing, status of outdoor lights and other information that may be required. The operator will remain on the phone with you as police respond and will continue to ask questions and provide information.

The use of weapons to protect yourself is a dangerous option. In a face-to-face confrontation, your weapon may be taken from you and used against you. Weapons have also been used against law enforcement officers or family members that were mistaken for intruders. The use of any weapon or deadly force is a last resort, even for highly trained police officers.


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Because of the way cellular telephone calls are routed, calls to 9-1-1 may not reach the proper dispatch operators. Generally, the police agency that receives a cellular 9-1-1 call is determined by the origination of the call in relation to a specific cellular tower. The Broward Sheriff's Office has received 9-1-1 calls from cellular users in central Miami-Dade County and from as far west as the city of Sunrise.

If you are reporting an emergency via cellular telephone, it's crucial to inform the 9-1-1 operator of your exact location. The appropriate and closest response can then be activated.


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If you have information about a crime, witnessed a crime, or have overheard someone discussing participation in a crime, don't be afraid to report it. In fact, you could receive up to $3,000 for your anonymous tip.

Broward County residents have helped make BSO's CrimeStoppers unit consistently one of the nation's top performers. That means with the help of the community, more cases are solved, arrests are made, and property is recovered. Convictions as a result of crime stoppers tips range about 95%.

If you have information regarding a crime, call CrimeStoppers at (954) 493-TIPS or online.

We won't ask for your name or for any information about you. There's no Caller ID. You remain completely anonymous. You'll be given a code number, and if your information leads to an arrest, that code number gets you the reward.


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Arrest and Jail Information

  
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Information on sending money / care packs to an inmate can be found under the Care Packs and Depositing Funds to Inmate Accounts sections on the General Arrest Information and Jail Visitor Information page.


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Inmates in Broward County jails may receive visitors once a week for a two-hour period. The inmate will advise you of the visitation schedule.

Due to limited visiting space, only two adults or one minor supervised by a parent may visit during the weekly visiting period. Visitors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who must present either a birth certificate or court documentation showing appointment of legal guardianship. Minors must be supervised at all times by the parent or legal guardian. Government issued photo identification and appropriate dress are required.

Visitors may not give anything to -- or take anything from -- an inmate.

For more details on visiting jail inmates, look under the "Jail Info" section of this web site.


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Think short-term and long-term.

Jails are most often run by sheriffs and/or local governments and are designed to hold individuals awaiting trial or a serving short sentences (in Florida, inmates serving 364 days or less serve their time in jail).

Prisons are operated by state governments and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and are designed to hold individuals convicted of crimes.

Jails operate work release programs, boot camps, and other specialized services. They try to address educational needs, substance abuse needs, and vocational needs while managing inmate behavior. Inmate idleness contributes to management problems.

State prison systems operate halfway houses, work release centers and community restitution centers - all considered medium or minimum custody. Inmates assigned to such facilities are usually reaching the end of their sentences.

There are approximately 3,600 jails in the United States. The BSO jail system is the 10th largest local jail system in the United States. It is one of only 3% of the local jails in the United States to have earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections.

The Broward Sheriff's Office maintains five jails: the Main Jail, the North Broward Bureau, the Joseph V. Conte Facility, Paul Rein Detention Facility and the Stockade Facility. The number of beds in the entire system is nearly 4,800.


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A person who has been arrested and charged with a crime may be required to post bail (a bond) before being released from jail. A bond is insurance to guarantee an arrestee will appear in court for trial. If that person fails to appear for a court date, the bond money is forfeited. A bond may be posted in cash, by an arrestee or by someone on his/her behalf.

Most crimes are bondable offenses, except capital crimes (those crimes for which the death penalty may be asked). The amount of a bond is determined by a judge or from an established schedule.

To post a bond, first make sure the person is, in fact, in a Broward County jail facility. Please call (954) 831-5900 or visit the information window, open 24 hours daily, located in the lobby of BSO's Main Jail. You can also obtain information about an arrestee's charge(s) and bond amount.

There are two ways to post a bond:

Cash Bond: the total amount of the bond, in cash, is placed with the county to guarantee the arrestee will appear at the next court hearing. If the arrestee does not appear after posting a cash bond, the money will be forfeited. If a not guilty verdict is rendered or the case is dismissed, or at the conclusion of the trial proceedings, bond money will be refunded minus any fines and / or court costs.

Cash, cashier's checks or money orders are the only accepted methods of payment for bail. When posting bail, cashier's checks and money orders must be made payable to the Sheriff of Broward County. Personal checks and credit cards are not accepted.

Refunds for cash bonds can be made if the blue bond receipt and court disposition sheet that releases the bond are both presented. Bond payments and bond refunds are both processed at BSO's Cash Bond Unit, located within BSO's Main Jail.

Surety bond: A bonding company posts a bond that guarantees an arrestee will appear at the next court date. Broward County and/or the Broward Sheriff's Office does not participate in the contract between an arrestee and the bonding company. The bonding company normally charges a fee for each bond posted. Consult your local Yellow Pages for lists of bonding companies.


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You’ll need to send us the following information:

  • the cash appearance bond receipt number.
  • the court disposition or "no information" (when case is not prosecuted).
  • a photocopy of the driver's license for the person who posted the bond.

If you don’t have the original cash appearance bond receipt (the blue form), you can obtain a certified copy of the bond receipt from the court file. Send the copy, accompanied by a lost bond form which is available from our office.

You can request a lost bond form by writing to us or by calling the unit at (954) 831-5929.

Send the above information to: Cash Bond Unit
PO Box 9507
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33310

If you don’t have the court disposition or "no information", you may obtain that by writing to:

Broward County Clerk of the Courts
201 SE 6 Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

The traffic and misdemeanor division is located in room 130. When writing to the clerk's office, please refer to the defendant's name, date of birth and arrest number.


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Public information about persons with outstanding warrants can be obtained from the Broward County Clerk of Courts web site or by visiting the Clerk of Courts in any one of their courthouse locations.

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Tickets, Reports and Permits

  
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For copies of arrest records, contact BSO’s Records Division. Since the Broward Sheriff’s Office manages all Broward County jail facilities, the agency maintains all arrest records for the county.

For background checks, contact BSO’s Records Division. Background checks include arrest records only and do not include traffic violations or other incidents which did not result in an arrest.

For event (also called incident) reports and accident reports, contact the law enforcement agency to which the report was made. The Broward Sheriff’s Office only maintains reports taken by a BSO deputy, generally in a BSO jurisdiction. Click here for information on obtaining event and accident reports from BSO.


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Restraining orders are issued by a judge and are intended to protect those who fear for their own safety. Essentially, a restraining order prohibits an individual from an action that is likely to cause harm; usually, a restraining order prevents any contact or communication between two or more people.

A restraining order is an injunction. A temporary restraining order can be granted immediately, without a hearing and without any notice to the opposing party. Temporary Restraining Orders are intended to last only until a hearing can take place. If a restraining order is violated, call 9-1-1 and report the situation. The violating party can be arrested immediately and taken into custody.

To obtain a restraining order, go to the Broward County Courthouse in downtown Ft. Lauderdale at 201 S.E. 6th Street, Room 248 from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.. The process takes approximately three hours to complete and it's suggested you arrive early.

If you find yourself in a life-threatening domestic violence situation after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays or during the weekend and holidays, have no safe shelter, and wish to apply for an emergency domestic violence restraining order immediately, call (954) 463-0911 for assistance. This will connect you to Henderson Mental Health Center, Inc. - Crisis Services, where a clinician will gather information over the phone about your circumstances to see if you meet the requirements to apply for an emergency restraining order. If you qualify, you will be met at the courthouse by a domestic violence specialist who will assist you in completing the necessary paperwork. The specialist will then contact the duty judge who will decide whether or not to grant the emergency domestic violence restraining order. There is no charge or fee to obtain a restraining order.

A copy of your restraining order should always be in your possession. A copy should be on file with the police departments in whose jurisdictions you live and work, and filed with other counties where you regularly spend time.

Let your employer, neighbors, close friends and family know about the restraining order. Ask that they contact the police if they see the other party near you. If a restraining order is violated, call the police immediately and go to Room 248 to complete legal paperwork.

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If you have lost your license tag or suspect it was stolen, file a police report and get a case number. You won't be able to replace your tag without that case number.

Call the Broward Sheriff's Office's non-emergency number at (954) 765-4321 and a deputy will stop by to take a report. If you reside outside BSO's jurisdiction, contact your local police department. Once you have the case number, apply for your new tag at the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles office. Click here to find the office nearest to you.


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A charge is an accusation that a crime has been committed and is the starting point for the criminal justice system. Being charged does not necessarily indicate guilt; only a court can make that decision.

Charges may be brought through an:

  • Arrest at a crime scene or following/during the investigation of a crime
  • Arrest based on a warrant issued by a judge in response to a sworn complaint
  • Arrest based on an indictment by a grand jury

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Civil cases are generally brought by private individuals or corporations seeking to collect money owed or monetary damages. A criminal case is brought by the local, state or federal government in response to a suspected violation of law and seeks a fine, a jail sentence or both.


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According to Florida statutes, a sexual offender is a person convicted of (or who has pled no contest or guilty to) a sex offense involving a minor and who is released on or after October 1, 1997 from the sanction (e.g., fine, incarceration, probation, etc.) imposed as a result of the offense. Offenses include, but aren’t limited to, child pornography, sexual performance by a child under 18 and procuring a person under 18 for purposes of prostitution. Consult the Florida statutes for a complete listing of offenses.

A predator designation requires that a person be convicted of a first-degree felony sex crime, or two second-degree felony sex crimes (with offenses, convictions or release from court sanctions occurring within 10 years) and which occurred after October 1, 1993. In addition, the court must issue a written order finding for predator status.

Florida law requires sexual offenders and sexual predators to register their address with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or the local sheriff’s office. Details on registration requirements are available at FDLE’s web site; a searchable database of predators and offenders residing in Florida is also available at the FDLE site.


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Contact Us

Broward's Sheriff's Office
2601 West Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Dial 911 for Emergencies Only

Non-Emergencies (954) 764-HELP (4357)

To report a crime tip (954) 493-TIPS (8477)

To report abuse (800) 96-ABUSE (22873)

General Information (954) 765-4321

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