Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
The End of Community Policing !!
The Chief of Police announced yesterday the end of community policing as we know it. It is being merged into the patrol officers and patrol officers will be called "Community Patrol Officers".
This is the same kind of spin the called cutting down the Natural Forests, the "Healthy Forests" program. Even using the best case argument for the changes, there will be 12 "Community Service Officers" left, instead of 41 Community officers.
1) Community policing is the most important tool we have to take back neighborhoods from criminals. Ending this is a huge mistake.
2) There was NO community input to the most significant change in policing in 15 years.
3) This was announced as soon as City Council choose the consultant to do the management review of the police department. The Mayor and Chief opposed the review, tried to narrow the scope of the review and opposed City Council's selection to do the review.
4) This is clearly a slap in the face of the City Council, the police officers and neighborhoods.
5) The goal is clearly to kill community policing before the community has an opportunity for input during the management review.
(for 5 more days!)
Friday, December 08, 2006
After three years as CONA President, this is my final President’s Corner. I have enjoyed the job of representing the interests of neighborhoods of St. Petersburg. I am happy to be handing off this to the very capable hands of Barbara Heck. She has a different style and different priorities that will allow us to continue the efforts to make every neighborhood in our community better.
2006 has been a successful year in making progress on the CONA priorities. They were: policing, environmental issues, implementing the LDR’s, under grounding utilities and traffic calming. In all cases, we were able to raise the issues and get the decision makers to respond to our requests. The answer was not always yes, but there was always an answer.
The top priority of neighborhoods is always policing. We worked on improving the Court Watch program. We saw one of our greatest allies, an assistant state prosecutor, get elected Circuit Judge. Another state prosecutor has come forward to work with us. The City has agreed to do a major review of the police department. We hope this will result in a better police department. The Sheriff has come into the City and worked on several major drug busts.
Environmental issues played a large role during the year. CONA took the lead on the hugely successful Pinellas Living Green Expo and is working on the 2007 event. We helped convince the City and the County to join the “Green Cities” effort. Dunedin joined them late in the year. We have regularly worked with several environmental groups on projects throughout the City.
The LDR’s (zoning) process was completed with buy-in from all groups across the City. Neighborhood leaders contributed thousands of volunteer hours on a project that will serve us well for decades to come. The new regulations will take effect in the Spring. The downtown zoning changes are still in the works.
Traffic calming will be revisited in 2007. CONA has been requested by the City to re-activate a traffic calming committee to review the current process and consider changes. Volunteers may contact Barbara Heck to begin this process.
The other thing that happens as CONA president is that you get asked to serve in other volunteer positions. Therefore, I am currently the Secy/Treas of the PSTA, the VP of Neighborhood Housing Services, a member of the Homelessness