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Largo letters: Intervention on bridge showed value of crisis team

Suicidal man surrenders after standoff | story, April 1

Incident showed value of crisis team

The Pinellas Mental Health Coalition, representing 44 local organizations, strongly commends Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats and the entire Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for its support of the Crisis Intervention Team program. This program has done much to improve officers' ability to interact with persons who have serious mental illnesses, reducing use of force while enhancing officer safety.

The benefits of CIT couldn't have been better illustrated than in the successful efforts recently by three CIT-trained deputies in intervening with a man threatening suicide on the Dunedin Causeway. The deputies, with their remarkable skill and patience, brought what could otherwise have been a lethal event to a peaceful conclusion. The hours of skilled intervention that day resulted in the man laying down his gun and agreeing to treatment.

While some people, particularly those isolated on Honeymoon Island, were inconvenienced, the safety of the suicidal man, the deputies and bystanders had to be prioritized. Each person affected by this incident would have hoped for the same degree of skill and training for his or her own loved one in the same circumstance.

Sheriff Coats has ensured the safety of all residents of Pinellas County, including persons with mental illnesses. There is no doubt that his foresight in ensuring that hundreds of deputies have participated in the intensive 40-hour CIT training program will continue to produce positive dividends to all Pinellas County residents.

Martha Lenderman, vice chairwoman, Pinellas Mental Health Coalition

Suicidal man surrenders after standoff | story, April 1

Sheriff's Office deserves gratitude

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) is a 40-hour course given at no charge to all law enforcement officers whose agencies will send them. Local mental health providers and advocates give this training.

On March 31 at approximately 1 p.m., a motorist noticed a man sitting in his vehicle with a handgun on the Dunedin Causeway out toward Honeymoon Island State Park. The motorist called 911 and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office dispatched CIT officers to respond to the call.

It was determined that the man was a suicide risk. The Sheriff's Office then dispatched a negotiating team including additional CIT officers. SWAT team officers were also dispatched to the scene.

After seven hours of negotiating, CIT officers with the help of a psychological coordinator were able to successfully de-escalate the situation and get the man who was in crisis to Morton Plant Hospital and then to Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to the Sheriff's Office for its dedication to CIT. This is an example of an excellent resolution to a crisis situation that could have resulted in the loss of lives, including officers, innocent citizens and, of course, the individual in crisis.

Thank you, Sheriff Jim Coats and the CIT training teams that have prepared our officers to serve our community.

John Jones, National Alliance on Mental Illness-Pinellas County

Homes robbed by greed

letter, April 6

Mobile home owners mistreated

I thoroughly enjoyed the letter by Neva Wise of Tarpon Springs. I couldn't agree with her more. We at Lakeside Mobile Home Park in Clearwater have gone through the same thing and been treated the same way.

At the beginning, we were offered $4,000 for a double-wide home and $2,000 for a single-wide. That has been the top offer. All we have ever asked for was fair market value for our homes. I truly feel that we are entitled to that.

Many sold out to the park owners, but 63 units decided to go into litigation for a fair price. The property owners are surely making big bucks, or they wouldn't be doing such an atrocious act that involves approximately 85 people.

We are still in litigation. It will be two years in May that we have worked on this and gotten nowhere. We were told that as long as we were in litigation, everything would be on hold.

Not so. Money talks.

Owner Nickel Plate Properties has been allowed to do anything they want to with us and nobody stops them. We have had no police protection, no fire department cooperation. We were fenced in, with three of the four gates locked. The fire department even put its own locks on top of the owner's locks!

Nickel Plate called us into court in two groups. We lost both cases, so now we are in an appeal. At the second court appearance, the judge said as his opening remark, "I don't know why you folks are wasting my time. You have already been in front of another judge for the same thing. You think I am going to rule against him?"

We have been harassed, humiliated and completely frustrated. This is just another instance of older people getting in the way of big business. We have absolutely no say-so and no funds.

Jean Wood, president, Lakeside Mobile Homeowners Association, Clearwater

Animal cruelty charges follow fire | story, April 20

Cruelty should bring stiff sentence

What in the world is wrong with people? Setting your vehicle on fire with two precious dogs inside! I cried when I read the story on John A. Paulette III.

The cruelty charges in this country should bring an automatic 10 years in prison for hurting any animal. Plus, perform the same act on the person who hurts an animal. Maybe then these cruelty to animal incidents would stop.

Ann Whisher, Oldsmar

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Largo letters: Intervention on bridge showed value of crisis team 04/22/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:53am]
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