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St. Petersburg mayor Foster plans a retreat to review public safety plan

ST. PETERSBURG — Law enforcement and neighborhood leaders will be able to scrutinize Mayor Bill Foster's public safety plan next month during a retreat aimed at reviewing his proposed tactics, including surveillance cameras, a less restrictive police pursuit policy and a return to community policing.

Nearly 100 city employees, business owners, crime watch leaders, church groups and residents will be invited to participate in the private one-day event scheduled for Feb. 17.

As a candidate, Foster vowed to embrace aggressive policing tactics, but police Chief Chuck Harmon has resisted some of his proposals, especially any change to the department's chase policy.

Assistant police Chief Cedric Gordon is organizing the event, Foster's first sweeping policy discussion since taking office.

The retreat is among several community outreach efforts planned for next month, events that seek to fulfill Foster's campaign promise of creating a more transparent City Hall.

Foster will launch a series of nightly chats with the mayor on Feb. 11 with a discussion at the J.W. Cate Center in the heart of the city's oft overlooked west side.

He also will host a public breakfast meeting at Shirley's Soul Food Diner on 34 Street S on Feb. 24.

As a candidate, Foster promised to be more accessible to community leaders and residents alike. Likewise, he vowed to pay greater attention to Midtown and west St. Petersburg, where the first two public events will be held.

Foster said he also is working on a plan to consolidate some government services.

Cristina Silva can be reached at (727) 893-8846 or

.Fast facts

Eight meetings set for a talk with mayor

Mayor Bill Foster is planning eight meetings where residents can talk with the mayor, council members and key city leaders on a one-on-one basis. Dubbed "Mayor's Night Out," the meetings aim to make City Hall more accessible to residents.

Feb. 11: J.W. Cate Center, 5801 22nd Ave. N.

March 11: Sawgrass Lake Elementary, 1815 77th Ave. N.

April 8: Willis Johns Center, 6635 M.L. King St. N.

May 13: Roberts Center, 1246 50th Ave. N.

Aug. 12: Lake Vista Center, 1401 62nd Ave. S.

Sept. 9: Frank Pierce Center, 2000 Seventh St. S.

Oct. 14: Childs Park Center, 4301 13th Ave. S.

Nov. 4: Gladden Park Center, 3901 30th Ave. N.

St. Petersburg mayor Foster plans a retreat to review public safety plan 01/21/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 21, 2010 11:41pm]
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