Another retired Tampa Police officer claims Jane Castor manipulated crime stats. But where’s the proof?

The retired officer offered anecdotal evidence from a case he says he worked.

A second retired Tampa Police officer has come forward with allegations that the department manipulated crime statistics to make crime look lower than it actually was.

The David Straz mayoral campaign launched another video Monday featuring retired officer Steve Brock who said agreed with Gary Pruitt’s claims about crime reporting methods when Straz’s opponent, Jane Castor was Chief of Police.

Like Pruitt, Brock did not offer any proof of his claims and instead offered anecdotal evidence from a case he says he worked.

“I was working a case where an individual had been stabbed numerous times in south Tampa,” Brock said in three and a half minute video. “When I looked at the video from that particular store I could see the parking lot I could see the suspect approaching the victim and the suspect began not only stabbing him numerous times he chased him around the parking lot and continued stabbing him.”

Brock said when he tried to report the incident as an attempted homicide he was told instead to report it as an aggravated battery “so it wouldn’t show up as a statistic as a homicide.”

Brock did not say who told him to do that or when the incident occurred.

Brock’s story also did not address one of the issues Pruitt brought up, which was that the agency was bundling crimes to make crime rates look lower than they actually were. But he said he knew that was happening too.

The Straz campaign claims Brock has no plans to run for office and that he did not personally know Pruitt. It also says Brock was not “persuaded or asked to come forward by Pruitt.” 

In the video, Brock said he saw the television ad featuring Pruitt and wanted to come forward after he saw Castor deny the allegations.

Pruitt’s allegations lacked evidence and the time frames he offered for his personal experiences pre-dated Castor’s tenure as police chief. Brock addressed that, too.

“It doesn’t matter what happened prior to her watch, whether it was a chief of police before or several generations prior to her, once you become a person of authority and you know something’s wrong, you stop it. You don’t continue that bad behavior. You certainly wouldn’t think it’s acceptable with a subordinate, so why would she continue to do that,” he said.

The  Castor campaign initially referred to its previous statement about the allegations.

“Facts are facts,” said Castor Campaign Manager Tim Wagner. “The bottom line is Tampa is far safer today than before the Tampa Police Department started implementing a crime reduction strategy implemented by Jane Castor.”

They later issued another statement reiterating the claims had no merit.

“Another false attack from David Straz, who has to know that crime dropped dramatically when Jane led the police department. In the 33 days since the general election began, Mr. Straz has not released a single plan outlining what he would do as mayor. Today we will deliver to Mr. Straz the federal and state reviews of Tampa’s crime statistics so he can do some homework before recklessly calling Tampa’s last three police chiefs liars. Before he destroys his reputation in the community, Mr. Straz should finally join Jane in focusing on issues rather than attacks,” said Castor Campaign Manager Tim Wagner.

In a press release with Brock’s video, the Straz campaign included a quote from the candidate’s video defending its claims after Castor said they weren’t true in her own television advertisement.

“Jane Castor chose to bundle crimes to make the numbers spin in her favor so she could look good.  That disingenuous style of management gives our community a false sense of security and puts officers’ safety in danger,” Straz said in that video. “That practice may have started before she was chief, but she was still second in command.”

Straz also launched a website called “The Truth About Jane” addressing its allegations. That website has not yet been updated with Brock’s video.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].

One comment

  • Andrew

    April 12, 2019 at 6:41 am

    If anyone wants to read the rules of crime reporting for themselves, you can Google “FDLE UCR Manual”, and you can see the guidebook that law enforcement is REQUIRED to follow for crime reporting.

    Look at the manual on page 7 under the heading “Classifying Offenses”. There is an example in the actual manual that debunks Brock’s exact claim. It’s clear that as a detective, he didn’t understand how crime is required to be reported.

    Look at page 10 under the heading “Property Offenses”. The first paragraph addresses Pruitt’s uniformed claim. “One offenses is counted PER PREMISES (location), regardless of the number of victims.” He seems to be confused about these simple crime reporting requirements.

    These two former officers are clearly uninformed conspiracy theorists who don’t know how crime is actually reported. What they assert as fishy crime reporting are actually requirements by the State of Florida, who reports to the FBI. By the way, intentionally manipulating crime stats could land a police administrator into very serious legal trouble since some Federal grant money is based on Uniform Crime Reporting statistics. If you lie about your stats and receive Federal money, you will likely be indicted at some point. That’s why there are several layers of audits.

    From what I can tell, they were never elevated to a position of making decisions of any weight as far as crime control or prevention. THANK GOD.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704