Advertisement
  1. News

St. Petersburg to buy security cameras for Republican National Convention

Published Jun. 14, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa's not the only city getting cameras for the Republican National Convention.

St. Petersburg plans to buy a batch of cameras for $270,000 in preparation for events related to the convention, including an Aug. 26 kickoff party that's anticipated to be held at Tropicana Field.

The City Council approved the money during Thursday's meeting, despite misgivings from some that the cameras will be installed downtown rather than in crime-ridden neighborhoods.

"We have problems in other areas," said council member Wengay Newton. "We have open-air drug dealing. We can't get the cameras for that. So we're getting cameras for the RNC, but we've had a drug problem for as long as I remember."

City officials refused to say exactly where the cameras will be placed, citing security concerns. They also wouldn't disclose how many cameras will be purchased.

"There's certain information that's confidential related to security plans for the RNC," said City Attorney John Wolfe. "People would be able to figure out what kind of cameras they are if we explained how many we were getting."

Although Tampa is the host city, St. Petersburg will be seeing some action. Aside from the kickoff party at the Trop, which will be attended by more than 15,000 journalists and 5,600 delegates, the Kansas delegation plans an event at Jannus Live.

Tampa is getting quite a bit of money from the federal government for the convention. St. Petersburg leaders said they will try to get reimbursed for the cameras. Only council Chairwoman Leslie Curran voted against the cameras. She expressed concern that the city was paying for the cameras without any guarantee that the federal government would reimburse the city.

Among the unknowns with the cameras is what will happen to them after the convention.

Council member Karl Nurse has pushed for cameras to be used in neighborhoods to catch drug deals since last year. He has been frustrated about how slow the city has moved to do so, despite Mayor Bill Foster vowing in his 2009 campaign that he would use security cameras in neighborhood "hot spots" to deter crime.

Gene Webb, the Police Department's former information technology manager, revealed this year that cameras he helped install in three parks were left unattended because the city didn't have the manpower to monitor them. The program to watch drug-dealing spots was scrapped because of a lack of interest, he said.

Foster said that if council members wanted cameras in drug-dealing neighborhoods, it was up to them to figure out a way to pay for them.

As for the new cameras, Nurse said he had been told by City Administrator Tish Elston that they would first go in downtown for the RNC events and then be moved to the neighborhoods.

"After the convention, we'll be able to put them in the hot spots," Nurse said.

But Thursday, Foster said he has no intention of moving the cameras once they are installed downtown.

"They're not for neighborhoods," Foster said.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Nicole Kristine Gaskins, 45, died Monday in a single-car crash on I-275. The Wesley Chapel woman was a mother of two. Jeanne Eror
    Nicole Kristine Gaskins, 45, died Monday when her car drifted off of Interstate 275 and crashed.
  2. FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2017, file photo, death row inmate Rodney Reed waves to his family in the Bastrop County District Court in Bastrop,  Reed is facing lethal injection for a murder he says he didn't commit. The execution was called into question by lawmakers, pastors, celebrities and the European Union. RICARDO BRAZZIELL  |  AP
    The 51-year-old had been set for lethal injection Wednesday evening for the 1996 killing of 19-year-old Stacey Stites.
  3. Discussing sex education on Nov. 15 in Tampa are Christian conservative Terry Kemple, university health services coordinator Linsey Grove, Planned Parenthood outreach educator Paola Ferst and Hillsborough schools physical education and health supervisor Ashlee Cappucci. Not shown: County PTA Council President Damaris Allen. MARLENE SOKOL
    Lessons seek to strengthen students’ communication skills so they can make informed decisions.
  4. Henry "Shake" Washington is running for Hillsborough County School Board for the second time since 2018.
  5. Forensic Science investigators with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office collect evidence at the scene of the shooting behind the Walmart Neighborhood Market, 6900 US Hwy 19 N, in Pinellas Park, on Friday, November 15, 2019. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The victim was a Walmart employee. He was on break at the time of the shooting.
  6. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
  7. Jeremy Guerrero, 31, was arrested on charges of DUI manslaughter and driving with a license suspended or revoked involving death, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. He's accused of being impaired by methamphetamines when troopers said he caused a crash on Interstate 75 that killed a woman early Friday. Florida Highway Patrol
    The 31-year-old driver faces a charge of DUI manslaughter after causing the crash that killed a 57-year-old woman, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  8. The $3 billion Water Street project is slated to be complete by 2026 or 2027. How affordable will it be? SHADD, DIRK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A project executive ticked off many ways the $3 billion project will alter Tampa, but a Cafe con Tampa audience wanted details on what it will cost to live there
  9. A total of 131 employees are scheduled to be laid off in January as Locale Market and Farm Table Cucina close at the Sundial to make way for a new food hall created by the developers of the Heights Public Market at the Armature Works in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES
    In a notice to the state of Florida, Sundial owner Bill Edwards said the layoffs are expected to take place the first week of January.
  10. Investigators say Traci Hudson stole more than $500,000 from a man she had guardianship over.
    Traci Hudson, 51, spent the money on personal purchases ranging from utilities to jewelry to Tampa Bay Buccaneers tickets.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement