Monday, February 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Castor aims to leave Tampa police in good shape

Chief Jane Castor's new plan for sharpening Tampa's police operations with a Professional Standards Bureau has significant potential and should complement the scrutiny the department already receives externally. Most importantly, if the bureau is sincere in its efforts, its work should go a long way toward ensuring the department is in the best possible shape as Castor prepares to hand over the reins next year.

The new bureau will consist of four lieutenants who will conduct "mini-audits" over the next several months focused on the department's use of force and vehicle pursuits, complaints and quality of service, policies, procedures and report writing, and vehicles and equipment. Castor has said, for example, that the bureau will look for patterns in complaints so police can be more proactive and prevent problems. Success will come when complaints decrease, officer reports improve and the agency has a uniform system of checks and balances, Castor said.

This is the right time to send a message of greater accountability. Castor's tenure has seen a steady drop in crime due largely to a methodical approach to targeting four crimes: burglary, robbery, auto burglary and auto theft. She presided over security efforts during a relatively arrest-free Republican National Convention. But the past year has been marked by a number of controversies in the ranks, resulting in the dismissal of five officers.

Most notably, Castor fired the head of the DUI unit after he was found to have participated in what appeared to be a setup arrest. Separately, an officer lost his job after spending several hours at a strip club while logged into work. Another officer was let go for lying to law enforcement about driving while intoxicated. That officer's indiscretions surfaced because he was involved in the investigation of Matthew Moye, a dentist who killed two pedestrians while driving drunk in 2010. Prosecutors ultimately struck a 12-year plea deal with Moye because of poor policing. Each of these cases showed a breakdown in professionalism and the command, which Castor's reforms have the potential to address.

Castor is rightly staying engaged in a period when she could coast toward retirement. She was supposed to leave her post in May as part of the city's retirement program. But she agreed to stay on as chief for another year at the request of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. She appears committed to making sure that the department is in shipshape for her successor.

Comments
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18
Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

Editorial: Promising Tampa stadium site for Rays

While it came as little surprise, the Tampa Bay Raysí selection of an Ybor City site near Tampaís Channel District as the best spot for a new stadium is an important milestone in the effort to keep Major League Baseball. Now comes the hard work of de...
Published: 02/09/18
Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

Editorial: Senate should reject Houseís attack on public schools

After pummeling public education so soundly last year, itís little surprise Republican state legislators are mounting another attack on public schools, teachers and local districts. The mammoth education bill passed by the House last week is loaded w...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/13/18