Thursday, June 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Lack of professionalism at Pasco Sheriff's Office

With each flippant, demeaning post on social media, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office erodes a little of its standing as a professional law enforcement organization dedicated to public safety.

This week, the Sheriff's Office wrote on Facebook about a Port Richey woman who called for help with a pressurized dry ice container. The woman told deputies she is trying to get pregnant by artificial insemination and had mishandled a vial for storing sperm and was worried about it exploding. Deputies and firefighters responded and took the vacuum bottle apart for her. She remarked in an interview with the Times about how professionally the responding personnel had handled the unusual call, even refusing to tell nosy neighbors what was going on.

RELATED: Call for help led to social media humiliation, woman says

MORE: Pasco Sheriff's Office posts photo of man crying after his arrest

Then, the next day on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page, a post appeared describing the incident — along with a stock photo of a woman looking unmistakably grossed out. It drew dozens of comments, some unbothered by the playful approach as others denounced it as mocking and distasteful. The agency's spokeswoman says that's the point — to engage with the public and show what deputies are doing every day. The Sheriff's Office frequently posts photos of wanted criminals and people being arrested, including one last November of a man weeping on the ground in handcuffs as deputies gripped his dreadlocks. The headline: "Sad criminal of the day."

Social media is a growing component of law enforcement operations, even serving as a vehicle for tips in cases. But tone matters. Professionalism matters. So here's a maxim: When in doubt, don't. As the hopeful mother told the Times, "I'm not going to support a Sheriff's Office that thinks it's okay to belittle their community." Are you listening, Sheriff Chris Nocco?

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Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBIís handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but itís also suppression

The Supreme Courtís ruling last Monday to allow Ohioís purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they havenít voted, Ohioís purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18