Sunday, February 25, 2018
Public safety

Clearwater officer reprimanded for cursing at three pranksters

CLEARWATER — A Clearwater police officer was reprimanded this week after she used foul language while questioning three teen pranksters who tricked her into thinking they were drinking beer on the beach.

A YouTube video posted online last week shows the confrontation between Officer Tanya Reed and the teens.

On July 6, she was driving on Gulfview Boulevard near the Hyatt Regency hotel when she saw three boys, ages 15, 16, and 17, heading toward the beach while carrying glass mugs that appeared to hold beer.

Reed, 29, approached them.

When they flipped the mugs to show there was no beer inside, she asked them for their IDs. She used profanity three times while questioning them and called one of the boys a "retard," the video shows.

A few minutes later, Reed let them go. But word of the prank got to her supervisors. She was given employee counseling, which includes a formal letter about the incident that remains in her personnel file for two years.

"Although this video is an obvious prank, I do believe officer Reed could have been more professional in her interaction with the juveniles," wrote Sgt. Willard Rodgers in police records, adding he spoke to her "about the importance of officers taking the 'high road' and that we represent a professional police department."

Reed, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, was hired by Clearwater in October 2012. This is her first reprimand at the department.

The seven-minute video garnered nearly 250,000 views Wednesday. It is among several other pranks, some of them targeting Clearwater officers on the beach, created and posted online by 19-year-old Jack Tenney.

Tenney, who shot the incident, said the three teens in the video were not offended by Reed's words, adding he is sending an apology letter to the Clearwater Police Department.

"We would never wish for her to get into any trouble," said Tenney of Indian Rocks Beach. "It's just purely for laughs."

Times staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] or (727)445-4157.

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