TAMPA -- Next week's Republican National Convention is expected to disrupt traffic, fill local hotel rooms and keep law enforcement on high alert.
It also will temporarily change how the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office responds to some types of crime.
Starting Friday, the sheriff's office will not send a deputy to some low-priority calls - say, someone returning home from vacation and finding their bicycle has been stolen. Instead, the agency is asking the public to visit a sheriff's district office or call the sheriff's office to fill out a report for relatively minor crimes.
The same holds true for minor traffic accidents. The sheriff's office asks that motorists in such a situation exchange information or visit a sheriff's district office.
The change will take effect at 6 a.m. Friday and last until 6 a.m. Aug. 31.
Sheriff's officials said the policy is necessary because of the law enforcement resources demanded by the Aug. 27-30 convention.
Deputies will still respond with the same urgency to priority calls such as burglaries in progress, crimes in progress and crashes with injuries, said Larry McKinnon, a sheriff's office spokesman.
"There won't be any difference of service for high-priority calls," McKinnon said.
On the interstates, deputies usually assist the Florida Highway Patrol in working crashes. During the convention, that work mostly will fall to the FHP, McKinnon said.
The goal is to better manage the resources when someoneplaces a priority call during the RNC, McKinnon said.
"That's only going to be for one week, then it'll be back to business as usual," McKinnon said. He said the agency would follow similar protocol after a hurricane or major disaster in the area.
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