The cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg will be changing how their police departments respond to certain 911 calls. If someone is having a mental health breakdown, a social worker will soon respond along with an officer.
Critical decisions can be the difference between life and death during a mental health emergency, and police officers often end up responding to those calls.
St. Petersburg police said in July that the city had set aside $3.8 million to hire 25 additional police officers, but instead the department would hire social workers and other trained professionals who could respond to calls for help that did not involve violence.
Multiple law enforcement agencies in the bay area are taking steps to become more transparent by launching pilot programs or purchasing body cameras for officers.
With St. Petersburg police announcing Thursday it will change the way it responds to certain 911 calls, community members say it’s a good first step toward change in policing.
St. Pete’s chief of police says his officers will begin enforcing pedestrian traffic rules following complaints about protesters blocking traffic and emergency vehicles.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan puts it bluntly while talking about the state of morale within his agency. “It’s a bit of a dumpster fire."
The Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg police departments say their policies are sufficient but are reminding officers of the rules. Sarasota PD banned choke-holds. But for the most part, Bay Area law enforcement are only making small changes in response to big outcry for reform.
In the two weeks since George Floyd’s death, there has been a growing movement calling for real, positive changes at local police departments to address racism and brutality.
After a day of trying to convince demonstrators that unity was the key to moving forward, St. Petersburg police brought out the riot gear and lined up to block protesters outside their headquarters.
St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway demonstrated Tuesday the new body-worn cameras he and four other officers will be testing over the next several weeks.
Protests resumed Tuesday in St. Petersburg after officers were forced to arrest people who they say were trying to incite violence the night before.
Protests outside the St. Petersburg Police Department remained peaceful Monday.
Police say 14 people were arrested after protesters turned on law enforcement outside St. Petersburg police headquarters late Sunday night.
Police chiefs and sheriffs from Tampa to St. Petersburg are standing in solidarity after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, saying the officers involved must be held accountable.
While government leaders are urging people to stay home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, there are others who don't have the option of working from home: first responders.
A former St. Petersburg police officer has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.
Police officers in St. Petersburg traded their patrol cars for shopping carts Tuesday morning.
Police in St. Petersburg are mourning the loss of one of their K9 officers.
A decorated St. Petersburg police officer was in federal court Thursday afternoon after being arrested by Department of Homeland Security agents.