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Ken Welch calls for warning signs on beaches following 9-year-old’s drowning

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Earlier this month, a 9-year-old boy drowned in the waters off of St. Pete Beach. Now, Pinellas County is re-evaluating the warning signage — or lack thereof — on its beaches.

“I want to take a look at the signage and see if there’s anything else we can do on our beach front,” said longtime Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, speaking during Commission’s Oct. 20 meeting. “Because, a parent might think that if you’re in ankle-deep water, you’re OK. Obviously, sometimes, that’s not the case.”

Currently, other than those in Clearwater, no Pinellas County beaches have warning signs for dangerous surf. It’s the condition believed to have caused the drowning.

The boy’s name was Cameron Bullard. According to The St. Petersburg Tribune, he was a fourth-grade honors student at Gulf Beaches Elementary, a technology magnate school on St. Pete Beach.

Detectives say that on October 3, 2015, Cameron was playing with several other young family members in ankle-deep water when a large wave swept the boy out into deeper waters.

Pinellas Marine units, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife were all involved in the search.

“It was certainly a tragedy,” said Welch, who attended the boy’s funeral. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to that family.”

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, along with three of his deputies, were also at the funeral service. According to Commissioner Welch, after the boy had been swept out into the Gulf, the sheriff remained with the boy’s family throughout the three-day rescue search.

“I want to thank Sheriff Gualtieri,” said Welch. “He [and his officers] did so much for the family after Cameron was found and all the way up to the funeral and after.

“You usually don’t hear about that side of law enforcement,” Welch continued. “But our folks need to know that the sheriff really supported that family and went above and beyond the call of duty.”

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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