Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg police chase policy tightened by new mayor, fulfilling campaign promise

ST. PETERSBURG —- Making good on one of Mayor Rick Kriseman's campaign promises, police leaders announced Thursday that they were tightening up rules governing police pursuits.

The change essentially means the chase policy will revert back to the old one, which said officers could pursue only people suspected of violent felonies. It is effective immediately, said acting police Chief David DeKay.

"This change in the pursuit policy will still allow officers to be effective in apprehending violent fleeing felons while minimizing risk to the public," DeKay said in a statement.

The pursuit policy has always been controversial — and frequently, political.

Former Mayor Bill Foster made it a central part of his campaign for mayor in 2009. He promised to loosen the policy to allow officers to go after brazen criminals who knew that police were limited in how they could respond. Foster made good on that promise after he took office, earning the praise of police unions.

Kriseman also made it part of his campaign last year, but he promised residents to reverse Foster's directive.

"During the campaign, I made my concerns about this policy clear," Kriseman said in a statement Thursday. "Today, I am glad to stand with Chief DeKay, who is in agreement with me, as the Police Department reverts to the previous policy regarding high-speed pursuit."

Kriseman's promise — one of 25 being tracked in PolitiFact Florida's Krise-O-Meter — did not earn him any points with the police union.

The Suncoast Police Benevolent Association is against the change, said union president Mark Marland.

"This change to the pursuit policy does not come as a surprise as he spoke about it on the campaign trail," Marland said Thursday. "What is concerning and disheartening is that he is making a policy change based on the Tampa Bay Times, anti-police activist groups, and one blowhard uninformed City Council member."

Marland was referring to council member Wengay Newton, who has been a critic of the policy and said that chases are endangering residents.

There was an initial spike in the number of pursuits after the policy change in 2010. But the numbers have leveled off, according to police data.

In 2009, the year before the change, there were 20 police pursuits in the city. There were 16 in 2010; 34 in 2011; 26 in 2012 and 17 last year.

The new policy calls for an annual analysis of pursuit reports, as well as a review of the policy itself.

Kriseman vowed to change the pursuit policy numerous times on the campaign trail. We rate this Promise Kept.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected], (727) 893-8643 or @cornandpotatoes on Twitter.

Comments

High school scoreboard for Jan. 16

Tuesdayís scoreboardGirls soccerLennard 8, Blake 0Osceola 1, Clearwater Central Cath. 0Boys soccerIndian Rocks Chr. 4, Bishop McLaughlin 0
Updated: 1 hour ago
Career Q&A: What to do when your boss is stealing

Career Q&A: What to do when your boss is stealing

Q: I strongly suspect that my boss is stealing from our employer. As the property manager for this apartment complex, she handles all payments, deposits and other financial matters.A few weeks ago, I accidentally discovered some suspicious discrepanc...
Updated: 2 hours ago

St. Pete officer suspended for month after pushing concert guard

ST. PETERSBURG ó A police officer was suspended for a month after he pushed a security guard at a summer concert in Tampa, according to St. Petersburg police.It could have been worse: Chief Tony Holloway determined Officer Curtis Wright could have be...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Women speak out on abuse by Nassar; Nationís first Sikh attorney general confirmed; more in U.S. news

Women speak out on abuse by Nassar; Nationís first Sikh attorney general confirmed; more in U.S. news

Updated: 3 hours ago
In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

Separate accreditation has long been a point of pride and a stamp of independence for the St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee branches of the University of South Florida.Graduates of those schools frame diplomas bearing the name of their own universi...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

ST. PETERSBURG ó Teamwork wins games, they say. And basketball can bridge gaps.Thatís what makes the Facebook video of three St. Petersburg police officers playing a game of pickup in the street against three kids so compelling. The officers, who wer...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

TAMPA ó The Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year is a self-described "busy, busy bee" who never tires of exploring new ways to help students learn, even if she has to be creative.At 56, Bonnie Bresnyan also is a mentor for the next generation of s...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

PORT RICHEY ó The casino boat operator whose shuttle caught fire Sunday, leaving one passenger dead, says it does not know what could have caused the blaze.But federal records show the company, now called Tropical Breeze Casino Cruz, had another boat...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Goodbye 70s. Hello freeze watch. Cold spell headed for Tampa Bay.

Goodbye 70s. Hello freeze watch. Cold spell headed for Tampa Bay.

Did everyone enjoy the cool, sunny weather? Because itís over now.Itís about to get very chilly, Tampa Bay. A rush of arctic air is headed our way, bringing another cold spell. Daytime temperatures will be in the low 60s on Wednesday, but overnight t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Thanks Twitter: Fakesters pose as jackpot winner Shane Missler

Thanks Twitter: Fakesters pose as jackpot winner Shane Missler

Jackpot winner and Florida man Shane Missler wants to leave behind a legacy with his winnings.But he wonít be doing that by doling out cash to Twitter followers.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Florida man, 20, claims $450M Mega Millions jackpotAn account cunningl...
Updated: 5 hours ago