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St. Pete police officers and firefighters receive top honors

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

First responders in St. Petersburg are officially top-notch cops and firefighters. The City of St. Pete announced Monday that both departments were honored with various awards and designations.

The city’s Fire and Rescue Department received the top classification from the Insurance Services Office as a result of its Public Protection Classification survey last month. The agency is responsible for protecting more than 260,000 residents and responds to some 54,000 emergencies each year.

“Today, I am incredibly proud of each and every member of our Class I Department. I thank all the men and women of our team for their continuous professionalism and performance which led to this well-deserved classification,” said St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue Chief James Large. “It serves to validate what I believe and tout every day: that each of our team members is one of the very best.”

The Insurance Office is an independent group serving the insurance industry and fire departments and provides information about risk. Of 48,000 fire departments in the State of Florida, St. Pete is one of only 28 agencies to receive the top ranking.

The St. Petersburg Police department received two awards on July 25, including the Advance Accreditation and Accreditation with Excellence. The honors came from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

“Not only are we the first agency in the Tampa Bay area to receive this Gold Standard Award for Accreditation with CALEA, we are also the first agency on the west coast of Florida to do so,” said St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway. “I congratulate every employee of the Department for achieving this great milestone. You’ve proven once again something I am already aware of: We will become one of the best police departments in the nation.”

The agency is the first in the Tampa Bay area to receive those honors following a Gold Standard Assessment. The police department has also maintained its status as a Meritorious Agency for 30 years.

“As mayor, public safety is always job one. I am proud of both our Fire & Rescue team as well as our Police Department. This professional recognition reflects the hard work of the men and women who keep us safe every day. My goal is for our fire department and our police department to be the best in the nation,” said Mayor Rick Kriseman. “I know that Chief Large and Chief Holloway share that goal, and I thank them for their leadership. We can’t be a truly great city, if we’re not a safe city, and today reflects that truth.”

The accreditation programs aim to improve public safety services by maintaining a body of standards developed by public safety practitioners. Those standards cover a wide range of up-to-date public safety initiatives. The programs also establish and administer an accreditation process and recognize professional excellence.



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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