Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two officers to patrol troubled East Gateway area

CLEARWATER — City officials have decided to assign two police officers to patrol East Gateway, 175 acres just east of downtown that has battled drugs, prostitution and urban decay.

At the same time, the city is seeking business owners, residents and others to serve on a task force for the area, which thousands of people pass through each day on the way to downtown Clearwater or Clearwater Beach.

The task force and increased police patrols are designed to strengthen East Gateway, which over the years has turned largely into a rental community. And they both are part of an overall plan the city has developed for revitalizing the area, which is bounded by Missouri Avenue, Drew Street, Highland Avenue and Court Street.

"We'd like to see a thriving business community, a perception of safety and security for everyone who lives or works in that area, we'd like to see a changing economic environment," and renovation of some of the buildings, said Clearwater police Chief Sid Klein.

Klein said the two new officers will start in October, thanks to money from the city's Community Redevelopment Agency.

He said the officers will focus on three main missions: to "remove identified drug dealers and career criminals from the area"; to reduce prostitution; and to reduce the number of crimes committed by and against homeless people in the area.

Because of the number of Hispanic residents in the area, Klein said he would be happy if the officers are fluent in Spanish, but acknowledged, "We don't have enough officers who speak Spanish." The officers generally will patrol the area both in cars and on bicycles, and will work evening hours, getting to know the community's residents and business owners.

At La Feria de la Nieve, a store on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard that sells helados (ice cream), and licuados (shakes), manager Victor Vega said he had not heard anything about the new officers. He said he does not understand certain things about how the police operate now — such as why it seems 10 officers swarm around anyone who gets arrested — but said he certainly has no objection to more police.

At the Wanna Save convenience mart at 1362 Cleveland St., owner Ray Abdull said additional police are bound to help. "It's more, it's better," he said.

JoAnna Siskin agrees. She is president of the nearby Skyview Neighbors association, and also is a member of a group called the East Gateway Coalition, and says it's clear the area needs help.

She said that in any part of the city, "the people who live there should be able to feel safe in their neighborhood.''

Residents who would like to serve on the East Gateway task force can find information by going to

Two officers to patrol troubled East Gateway area 09/01/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 6, 2008 2:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Federal study says humans harmed by dispersant used during Deepwater Horizon


    A first-of-its-kind scientific study has determined that the dispersant BP sprayed at the oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010 harmed human health.

  2. Across Tampa Bay, local commercial banks and credit unions appear healthy


    In another sign of economic vitality, Florida's home-grown banking industry demonstrated strong bench strength in the latest quarterly analysis by Bauer Financial. The vast majority of commercial banks with headquarters in Florida received five "stars" from Bauer, which is the highest ranking of health on its 0-to-5 …

    Several years ago, First Home Bank in Seminole faced regulators breathing down its neck for inaedquate controls and financial weakness. Under CEO 
Anthony N. Leo, the bank has rebounded. It received a top-rated "5" star rating from Bauer Financial in the latest quarter. Most area banks are doing better these days. [SCOTT KEELER      |     TIMES]
  3. Two linemen lose their wedding rings in Tampa Bay. So far one has been found and returned.

    Human Interest

    Two linemen who spent days restoring power in the Tampa Bay area had the same unfortunate mishap: They lost their wedding rings.

    Facebook helped Michael White find the wedding ring he lost while helping restore power in Tampa Bay.
  4. Need is now for new mental health center at Bay Pines, veterans say


    ST. PETERSBURG — Veteran Ellsworth "Tony" Williams says the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System's new mental health center will help fill an immediate need.

    The new mental health center at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System stands four stories tall and was built at a cost of $92 million. It will centralize services that before were scattered. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Staff]
  5. GOP health bill all but dead; McCain again deals the blow


    WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain declared his opposition Friday to the GOP's last-ditch effort to repeal and replace "Obamacare," dealing a likely death blow to the legislation and, perhaps, to the Republican Party's years of vows to kill the program.

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington in July.  McCain says he won't vote for the Republican bill repealing the Obama health care law. His statement likely deals a fatal blow to the last-gasp GOP measure in a Senate showdown expected next week. [Associated Press]