Just one week before St. Petersburg mayoral primary, Rick Kriseman‘s campaign is boasting about another law enforcement agency endorsement.
The Fraternal Order of Police, Pinellas Lodge 43 is backing the incumbent mayor, joining the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association and former Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats in supporting Kriseman over his chief rival, former Mayor Rick Baker.
“The Fraternal Order of Police, Pinellas Lodge 43, is proud to endorse Mayor Rick Kriseman for re-election,” said FOP President Douglas Weaver. “From Mayor Kriseman’s leadership on appointing Chief Holloway, to bringing back community policing, he has moved our police department forward.”
“Mayor Kriseman’s commitment to keeping Chief Holloway has made this an easy choice. Our department has seen a lot of progress since Rick Baker was mayor,” Weaver added. “Mayor Kriseman’s re-election will ensure public safety remains a priority for St. Pete.”
Kriseman is running hard on public safety during his re-election campaign, touting how violent crime has been reduced 26 percent since he came into office in January of 2014. The Kriseman camp also says that complaints about the police department have dropped precipitously, from 78 per year in the Baker era to under 14 under Kriseman.
Kriseman also touts his selection of Tony Holloway in 2014 as chief of police. Kriseman lured Holloway away from the Clearwater Police Department, saying that he was looking for a strong leader who was data driven and committed to community policing.
“I’m honored to receive the support of the Fraternal Order of Police. Public safety has been a priority for me, and that’s why St. Pete has become a safer community since my opponent was mayor,” said Kriseman. “Our success is due to the daily work of Chief Holloway as well as our men and women in uniform. With programs like park walk and talk, Chief Holloway has made all neighborhoods safer.
“While Mr. Baker has refused to commit to retaining Chief Holloway, I’ve made it clear that the Chief’s leadership is vital to making St. Pete a better and safer place to live.”