The COPS ADAPT (Community Oriented Policing Services to Achieve Diversity and Public Trust) was established in 2018 by Sheriff Paul Blackman. Using a grant from the Department of Justice, the COPS ADAPT Unit was launched with the mission of reducing gun violence in three partnership communities.
The unit consists of a lieutenant, a sergeant and four deputies. They focus on getting out of the patrol cars and into the communities, using bicycle and foot patrols to increase engagement with residents in the Southside of Avon Park, Washington Heights in Sebring and Highway Park in Lake Placid. The unit focuses heavily on community involvement and engaging with young people. Their high level of involvement with these partner communities has allowed them to identify many people in need of basic necessities, and to then facilitate getting those needs met.
The unit is also effective at getting guns off the street and identifying criminals using the intelligence gathered during their patrols and community engagement activities.