Wednesday, May 23, 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.

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Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

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Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

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Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
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Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

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Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
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Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

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A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18