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PSTA in small crowd of prestigious award winners

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Pinellas County’s public transportation agency is one of only three in the nation to receive the Transportation Security Administration’s Gold Standard award more than once.

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority also won the award last year.

“It takes a lot of hard work to win this award and it’s reflective of the dedication of your agency,” said TSA Director of Surface Transportation Division Sonia Proctor during a PSTA board meeting Wednesday.

PSTA was one of 137 agencies to apply for the award.

The Gold Standard designation is calculated through TSA’s baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement that measures certain security tactics. PSTA scored 99 out of 100 on the assessment. That’s a one-point improvement over its previous record set in 2011.

“Your system attained high scores across all categories. We consider this caliber of performance as deserving of special attention.  I commend you and your organization for the commitment and hard work that this level of achievement requires,” TSA Acting Administrator Melvin Carraway wrote in a letter to PSTA CEO Brad Miller.

The system measures safety measures such as security plans, training, drills/exercises, preparedness, public outreach, and background check programs.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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