Due to a handful of disgruntled people, most of whom are not residents of the City of Cocoa, releasing misinformation about crime data in our community, we wanted to set the record straight with facts. Facts do not lie. The Cocoa Police Department (CPD) reports data to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for their annual Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) along with all other agencies across the State of Florida. Based on the crime data that is reported, which was established through strict criteria from FDLE, the City’s overall crime rate decreased over 11% in 2021, of which Chief Collier was hired in April of that year. Not only did the overall crime rate decrease, aggravated assaults went down over 25% and violent crimes went down over 17%. Now compare that to the previous ten years of reporting statistics listed below and you will notice prior to Chief Collier’s hiring in 2021, rates went up drastically. The 2022 data will be released in the first quarter of 2023.
|YEAR||POP||% Change Aggr Assault||% Change Violent Crimes||%Rate Change|
There was also misinformation distributed related to Cocoa’s K9 Officer, Copper. Over the holidays, Copper stayed at the Cocoa Kennels because his partner went away for the holidays. This is common practice not only for dogs but for all of Cocoa’s K9 officers. In fact, K9 Copper himself previously stayed at Cocoa Kennels back in 2019 and in 2021 when he was with his former handler. Spreading this type of misinformation is harmful to the community at large and it is unfortunate that it is coming from individuals who should be championing our community, not trying to bring it down.
These same individuals also stated that the Cocoa Police Department is severely understaffed because the Rockledge Police Department had to come assist with an incident that occurred at the beginning of January. This is called Mutual Aid. We have Mutual Aid Agreements in place with multiple agencies who assist when needed. Did you know that the Cocoa Police Department assisted the Rockledge Police Department eleven (11) times in the month of December? Does this also mean that the Rockledge Police Department is also understaffed?
Prior to the hiring of Chief Collier in April of 2021, a survey was conducted of both residents and Police Department employees of the City of Cocoa to see what they envisioned for the next Chief of Police. Overwhelmingly, the response revealed a need for change in the current system, a shift towards better community policing, and engagement of the entire Cocoa community. Even in the short year and a half since Collier’s tenure began, these strides are occurring.
We are in a time where we must demand the highest level of professionalism and accountability from our law enforcement officers and their leaders. With a change in leadership, there comes changes to personnel, organizational structure, and operating methods. Not everyone will agree with those changes but the impact the Cocoa Police Department has had over the last year and a half in the Cocoa community is proof that these changes are yielding positive results.
We will continue to move forward and uphold our duties to protect and serve this community and not let the misinformation of a few deter the great work the men and women of the Cocoa Police Department are doing.