Sunday, February 25, 2018
Public safety

Mayor Rick Kriseman considers uniform change for police officers

ST. PETERSBURG — There has been chatter over the years about a potential uniform change at the city's police department. That could now be inching closer to reality.

After recently hearing from officers, Mayor Rick Kriseman is pondering changes that could give the police force a new image.

That includes anything from minor tweaks to the mint green shirts officers wear to a complete color change or perhaps doing something different with the cruisers, city spokesman Ben Kirby said this week.

Since he took office in January, Kriseman has met regularly with officers, according to his calendar. Many have said they want dark blue or black uniforms.

Nothing has been decided yet, Kirby said.

At this point, neither Kirby, nor the police union, which has also been advocating for a new look, could say how much a uniform change would cost. It's possible Kriseman could include the change in next year's budget. That won't be known until he submits it to the council July 1.

The department has been using its current uniform, featuring the light green shirt and forest green slacks, for at least 40 years.

Police union vice president George Lofton said he believes it would be cheaper than whatever the city spends now because many other departments already have dark uniforms.

He also said the quality of uniforms has improved, so wearing a dark color is more bearable in Florida. Assistant Chief Melanie Bevan has her staff researching options, Lofton said.

The desire to change uniforms is about more then aesthetics, Lofton said.

"When you work at night, the shirt color kind of glows a little bit," he said. "Nobody has that color shirt."

Most law enforcement agencies in the bay area have dark uniforms. Earlier this year, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office announced it will ditch its white shirts for a dark green uniform.

That change is going on now, sheriff's spokeswoman Cristen Rensel said. She could not say how much it will cost; a total amount won't be known until all orders are placed.

Not everyone might be on board with a change in St. Petersburg.

Kurt Donley, who heads the criminal justice committee for the local NAACP branch, is concerned that police officers look more like soldiers in darker colors.

"I think it would be better if they didn't all look like military SWAT teams," he said.

Donley suggested Kriseman do a focus group or survey to see what residents think.

Comments

One man stabbed to death during Saturday incident in Plant City

PLANT CITY — A man stabbed another man to death Saturday night, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The two men, neither of whom were identified, got into "an altercation," deputies said, about 10:15 p.m. at 4308 James L Redman Park...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

LARGO — A 60-year-old man who police said was the driver in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run on East Bay Drive from three days prior was arrested by Largo Police on Saturday, the department said.Victor Bonavita was arrested on three charges in relation...
Published: 02/24/18
Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

TAMPA — Officials reopened roads near Citrus Park Mall Saturday evening that had been closed in the afternoon for a natural gas leak caused by a car crash, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Fi...
Published: 02/24/18
Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

TAMPA — A male motorcyclist died early Saturday morning on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Tampa Police Department said.About 1:35 a.m., the victim rode his motorcycle west on the Courtney Campbell at high speeds, police said. The motorcycle stru...
Published: 02/24/18
Broward sheriff’s office launches internal investigations amid questions after Parkland massacre

Broward sheriff’s office launches internal investigations amid questions after Parkland massacre

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said it is investigating allegations that multiple deputies failed to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, after the shooting rampage there, adding to the mounting internal probes examin...
Published: 02/24/18
Police: Registered sex offender who attacked Marriott hotel worker arrested

Police: Registered sex offender who attacked Marriott hotel worker arrested

TAMPA — A registered sex offender was arrested early Saturday morning by Tampa Police in connection with a hotel worker who was attacked earlier this week, the department said.John Eckhard, 41, was arrested about 1:30 a.m. on charges of aggravated ba...
Published: 02/24/18
Parents accused of torturing their 13 children face new charges

Parents accused of torturing their 13 children face new charges

The 13 Turpin siblings gained their freedom last month after one of them escaped through a window and called 911, ending years of imprisonment under parents accused of starving and chaining them to their beds in a putrid home not far from Los Angeles...
Published: 02/24/18
Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

After the Parkland school shooting that horrified the nation, a Miami father told police he was worried about his son’s disturbing posts with guns on Instagram and Snapchat.So he gave investigators his son’s smartphones — and they found child porn, c...
Published: 02/24/18
Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

WASHINGTON — Once again, it was the images of children that propelled President Donald Trump to act. Trump spent the first days after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida fixated on the grieving and anguished students and parents. While at his Flor...
Published: 02/24/18
Gun legislation unease looms over Tampa gun show attendees, vendors

Gun legislation unease looms over Tampa gun show attendees, vendors

TAMPA — Hundreds lined up minutes after one of the state’s biggest gun shows opened its doors Saturday morning at the Florida State Fairgrounds.About 400 people from the entrance stood Austin Nichols, a 19-year-old looking to get a deal on bullets. H...
Published: 02/23/18
Updated: 02/24/18