08/27/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward attributes his department's decrease in bicycle ticketing to a message he communicated to officers after he was installed in May:
"Education first... Focus on neighborhood relationship building."
It's his philosophy, he explained Thursday as he presented the numbers to Tampa City Council.
Bike stops for this month are down 57 percent from last year, 1,054 to 450....
08/18/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — Tampa police dramatically decreased their bicycle ticketing after a Tampa Bay Times investigation this spring found stark racial disparities in the long-standing practice.
Police gave out 59 bike tickets from May through July, fewer than any other summer in more than a decade, according to department records. A Times analysis found Tampa police wrote three times more tickets in the same period last year....
04/30/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — Just after Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced the city's new police chief, representatives of social justice organizations gathered in a park across from police headquarters to once again demand officials suspend bike ticketing practices that have led to stark racial disparities.
The advocates said they are encouraged that the mayor tapped Assistant Chief Eric Ward to lead Tampa police after Chief Jane Castor retires next week....
TAMPA — The Tampa Police Department will not stop writing bicycle tickets, despite a request from a dozen civil rights organizations and faith leaders concerned about racial disparities reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
On Thursday, local chapters of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and the NAACP sent a letter to Mayor Bob Buckhorn asking that Tampa police freeze enforcement of bike offenses pending a review by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services....
04/22/15 Public Safety
The U.S. Department of Justice will review the Tampa Police Department's enforcement of bicycle laws after a Tampa Bay Times investigation found 79 percent of the agency's bike tickets go to black residents.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Wednesday that he and police Chief Jane Castor asked federal officials to review the program because their expertise can "bring clarity to us and to the community and may help evolve our current strategies."...
04/20/15 Public Safety
Tampa City Council Chairman Frank Reddick called Monday for an investigation into whether the Tampa Police Department is violating civil rights law with its long-standing practice of targeting poor, black neighborhoods for bicycle tickets.
Reddick said he wants police Chief Jane Castor and Mayor Bob Buckhorn to publicly answer questions about how officers are handing out tickets.
Reddick's call was in response to a Tampa Bay Times report on Sunday that revealed police have been using bicycle law as an excuse to stop, question and search riders in high-crime neighborhoods. ...
04/17/15 Public Safety
If the tickets are any indication, Tampa residents must be the lousiest bicyclists in Florida.
They don't use lights at night. Don't ride close enough to the curb. Can't manage to keep their hands on the handlebars.
In the past three years, Tampa police have written 2,504 bike tickets — more than Jacksonville, Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando combined....
There are two kinds of human evil in The Walking Dead's zombie apocalypse. We're well-acquainted with the obvious breed: the one-eyed Governor, the dreamboat cannibal - both bigger monsters than the corpses limping through the streets. But this season, we've had a brush with a different brand of bad guy: the powerful coward. There's Officer Dawn Lerner, clinging so desperately to her dystopia that she enables lollipop assaults and much, much worse because "the wards keep my officers happy." And there's Father Gabriel, who chose to lock himself in his church with a lifetime supply of Beanee-Weenee while allowing droves of his help-seeking parishioners to become a zombie buffet. Everyone has a weakness. It’s how you deal with that weakness – yours and others' – that makes all the difference....11/21/14Health
Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston runs one of America's most distinguished trauma centers, taking on thousands of severely injured patients every year....09/12/14Health
One April evening two years ago, 9-year-old Justin Davis dashed into a busy Jacksonville street, headed to a convenience store for snacks.
When paramedics arrived minutes later, they found the boy lying on the road, unconscious. The impact of a car had fractured his skull and his brain was swelling and bleeding.
Paramedics knew they had to act fast.
Instead of taking Justin to the pediatric trauma center 13 miles away — the only place in Jacksonville equipped to handle his injuries — they drove him in the opposite direction, to a new adult trauma center a few miles closer....06/23/14Business
Over the objections of long-established Florida hospitals, a judge has upheld a state proposal that paves the way for a costly expansion of the trauma care system.
The order by Judge R. Bruce McKibben is the latest chapter in a contentious battle for seriously injured patients who can generate high payouts from health and auto insurers.
A group of longstanding trauma centers, including Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and Tampa General and St. Joseph's hospitals in Tampa, had challenged the state's trauma center expansion plans, saying regulators overstepped their authority and the rule is "arbitrary and capricious."...04/09/14Health
Hospital Corporation of America, Florida's largest provider of trauma care, announced this week it will stop charging uninsured patients a special trauma fee that can add $30,000 or more to their bills....04/06/14Legislature
Most Florida lawmakers declined to say whether they would support measures that could reduce hospital charges for trauma patients....03/24/14 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — What started as a legislative effort to protect the Hospital Corporation of America from lawsuits over its trauma centers could also clamp down on the for-profit company's outsized trauma response fees, and slow down its plans to open still more facilities....03/14/14Health
The Safety Net Hospital Alliance, which represents 12 Florida trauma centers, says there are clear abuses in the way hospitals are levying "trauma response" fees, and it would support legislation to rein in overcharging.
But Hospital Corporation of America, which a yearlong Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed to have the highest average trauma fees ever seen in Florida, is not part of that group. A relative newcomer to the Florida trauma market, it operates five of the state's 25 adult trauma centers. It charges as much as $33,000 for what is effectively a cover charge, even charging patients who are not seriously injured....