Police surveillance cameras in St. Pete: A disturbing epilogue

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If you missed the Public Safety and Infrastructure meeting Thursday you missed a classic. Being discussed, one of Mayor Foster hottest Foster 40 issues, the deployment of surveillance cameras.

If there was any doubt about the level of disrespect the Police administration has for the Mayor and City Council it should be clear now.

Not one member of the sworn command staff, not the Chief, not an assistant chief, not a major was present to support one of the Mayors’ major crime fighting objectives or even to answer questions.

I called this one right.  Surveillance Cameras to get a Closer Look. Mike McDonald a civilian assistant director, and my former boss, along with the City IT staff ,who are about as welcome as the plague at the PD, were there to answer questions.  They had all the technical answers, but then PD management already had most of that information.

Council, to their credit, tried to find a way though the stonewall but with no sworn PD management present, how were they to get any firm operational or policy answers? Council members Newton and Danner, with severe problems in their districts, were all but begging for help, but the guys from the PD with answers were nowhere to be found and Dudley cut Newton off right in the middle of his comments.

How much more disrespect for the Mayor and the public does the staff have to show before Foster steps up and does something?  They were all pretty much scared of Mayor Baker. Foster’s lack of leadership, failure to follow through on staff problems, like the Hilton impact fees, and Matt Spoor and Todd Yost debacles have left staff to do whatever they please and what pleases PD management is no surveillance cameras.

Oh, and that truck donated by Brinks, you’ll find it nicely tucked away between two rather large vehicles in the Fleet maintenance yard in virtually the same condition as it was 7 months ago.

Sleep well, 34th Street pimps and Midtown crack house operators. No St. Pete PD surveillance cameras any time soon.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.