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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Over the Foster Formula? It's time for the Foster Forty



ST. PETERSBURG -- Mayoral hopeful Bill Foster unveiled his detailed Foster Formula in February, before the crowded mayoral field had taken shape and before most of the other candidates were talking specifics.

Now that the other candidates are releasing their plans, it seems Foster wants to remind everyone that he has some ideas, too.

Here is the e-mail he sent to voters today:

As primary election day draws closer, I am rolling out the first installment of a package of ideas I call “The Foster Forty: 40 Bright Ideas for the Sunshine City.”

Some of the ideas are part of my “Foster Formula,” while others were formed after listening to the concerns of thousands of St. Petersburg residents while out on the campaign trail.

It is important that we let voters know there is a candidate for Mayor with real, budget conscious ideas for St. Petersburg. No rhetoric, just common sense, practical ideas for a brighter future in St. Petersburg.

Below is the first installment of ideas, all on public safety. I look forward to hearing your input, and ask you to forward this e-mail on to your friends for their input as well.

Stay tuned for a new installment of the “Foster Forty” over the coming days.

Installment One - Public Safety

1. Philosophy Shift: The number one role of law enforcement should be crime prevention and maintenance of order, NOT response-oriented policing. We must eliminate conditions that allow criminal activity to flourish through the implementation of new prevention programs, education and steady presence. This involves the adoption of the "Broken Window" philosophy (stopping minor offenses can prevent serious crime) which has been so successful in many major urban settings.

2. Implement new and improved Community Policing, focusing on relationships, intelligence gathering, education and customer service. This is where the City will re-establish a sense of trust from its citizens. We must renew the emphasis on CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) training and assistance, and coordination of neighborhood crime watch programs.

3. Every neighborhood will be encouraged to have an organized Crime Watch group, and the City will use neighborhood grants as incentives. These groups will be supported, educated and coordinated by the City, and engaged in activities within each neighborhood.

4. I will institute a "City Crime Watch" program which will give us greater crime watch coverage during the time when most people are at work. Every city employee in the field with a radio will be educated in the field of crime watch; what to look for; suspicious activity; awareness of surroundings. Education opportunities would be offered to letter carriers and utility workers as well.

5. I will create and maintain healthy partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, including, but not limited to, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department.

6. I will modify our pursuit policy allowing officers to assess risks and benefits, and a risk matrix will be devised for ranking offenses and risk factors. I believe our policy should be based upon formulating categories of risks and standards so officers could make distinctions during the pursuit. Through continuous education and training, the officer and supervisor should be given some latitude to evaluate the pursuit and the circumstances surrounding it based on a continuum of risk factors versus the seriousness of the offense. However, moderate to high-risk pursuits will not be tolerated for non-violent criminal offenses.

7. I will seek grant monies for the installation of security cameras in high traffic tourist areas and "hot spots."

8. I will encourage a return to traditional policing, while taking advantage of new technology and methods. This involves police officers being out on the streets in commercial corridors, and engaging the public and business owners.

9. I will seek the development of a Downtown Police Substation, ideally in close proximity to BayWalk and the Central Avenue commercial corridor.

10. Enhanced community relations through information sharing. I will implement a system where the Police PIO (Public Information Officer) performs daily e-mail blasts to local media outlets and organized crime watch groups advising them of all crimes reported that day which have a material impact on the community. Taking the time to pass such data along helps to build a crime fighting partnership with our citizens, and reflects the principles of open and transparent community policing.

Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:03pm]


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