Who responds: Palm Beach or Lake Worth Police?

By John Bachman
Posted by Rachel Leigh

PALM BEACH CO, FL (WFLX) - When you call police for help, you expect a fast response. But what if no one could agree which department should go to your home?

It's happening on the border of incorporated Palm Beach County and the city of Lake Worth.

Here's part of the confusion: One side of Lake Osborne Drive is patrolled by the sheriff's office, and the other side falls under Lake Worth Police's jurisdiction.

When you need to call for help, you don't want any confusion at all. The Laskey family says that's exactly what they get. "It was a blue recycling bin. But it had probably 70-80 extension cords in it", says Dawn Laskey.

But, now, it's gone. The Laskey's house is known for all their Christmas lights. But things will be different this year.

On Tuesday someone stole all the extension cords the family uses for their holiday display. And if the theft wasn't frustrating enough, Dawn says, things got worse when she called Lake Worth Police.

"Fifteen minutes later, she calls me back. 'You're not our jurisdiction; we're dispatching a sheriff,'" Dawn says she was told.

Both Lake Worth Police and a Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy eventually showed up, but, Dawn says, it took a while to figure out who should handle the case. "The sheriff's were over here. They were arguing about Lake Worth. The Lake Worth officer is on his radio arguing with his dispatcher. And they were back and forth back and forth back an forth."

Lake Worth Police eventually filed the report. But it's not the first time the Laskey's had to deal with this kind of confusion. "The truck was basically embedded in this tree."

In May, someone crashed into a tree in the family's front yard. Both Lake Worth Police and Sheriff's Deputies responded to the call. Only that time, a sheriff's deputy wrote the report, again Dawn says, after some arguing. "The next thing, you know, the Lake Worth cops come over, and, he says, I don't know what happened. It's not my call. He left."

The family worries that all the confusion could cost them the next time they need to call for help. "Problem is we are in a gray area."

Some of the factors at play here: If there is an accident, the direction the car is traveling could impact who responds to the call. Also, odd numbers address on this street belong to the sheriff, and evens numbers belong to the city of Lake Worth.

We talked to both Lake Worth Police and the Sheriff's Office, they say, they'll work on sorting out the confusion.