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1 POLICE BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION S UN C OA S T The official quarterly publication of the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association Volume 41 Issue 2 April 2014 INSIDE THIS ISSUE 2 SCLEC Keeping Busy! 4 What Leadership Is NOT!!! 6 Keeping The Brotherhood Strong 7 Happy Hour at McNally s 8 What Is Right Within SPPD 11 A No Cost Obligation Just For You SCLEC Scholarship Application 16 Tough Decisions 18 Not Founded, Not Sustained, NOT WARRANTED 22 Cards & Letters 25 Know Your Rights Meet Your PBA Lawyers and much more! PRESIDENT S MESSAGE By Mark Marland Well, it s time again for another article. As I write this, I hope all is well with everyone. The PBA continues to be busy with internal affairs investigations and the normal day-to-day activities. Since the last article, the PBA won a grievance against the City of St. Petersburg. The city fired a police officer over shooting at a vehicle to protect himself. Joe C, Debra, and Nick fought extremely hard on the behalf of the officer and he won his job back with full back pay and only a minimal suspension. I m happy to say the officer is back to work and everyone is glad to see his smiling face. In an effort to get more of our members involved, Officer Cox and Officer Bilbrey, who are union representatives, planned a PBA Happy Hour Sunset Cruise on March 25. I m happy to say 70 people attended the happy hour and the feedback from the cruise was all positive. The cost of the cruise was $10 a member. The PBA provided light finger foods and there was a cash bar which was extremely reasonable. The feed - back was so positive we will be planning another one in the coming weeks. Please look for the notice on Facebook and check your PBA boards. It s definitely worth the money. It gave everyone three hours to talk with each other and to make new friends. I would also like to give a huge thank you to Billy s Corner Barber Shop for having the Cuts For Cops fundraiser, which donated 100% of its proceeds to the Sun Coast Law Enforcement Charities Fallen Officer Fund. As summer approaches, we know crime tends to spike, so everyone please be safe out there and watch each other s back. Until the next article, stay safe. Visit our website for the latest news and information! Sun Coast PBA Board Meetings Board Meetings are now held quarterly instead of monthly. They will be the first month of each quarter and will continue to be on the last Thursday of that month. Board Meeting dates: April 24th, July 31st, and October 30th Location: Franklin Templeton located in Carillon (100 Fountain Parkway North, St. Petersburg) All members are welcome! Food will be served before every Board Meeting at 5:00 p.m. Board Meeting begins at 6:00 p.m.

2 Hello everyone, I hope all has been well with you. It s been a very busy quarter for the Sun Coast PBA (SCPBA) and the Sun Coast Law Enforcement Charities, Inc. (SCLEC). We ve started organizing membership Happy Hours at various venues to give us as a union a chance to mingle and catch up on issues. So far, we ve had three this year at Georgie s Alibi of St. Petersburg (3100 3rd Avenue North in St. Petersburg), Nolan s (230 Main Street Safety Harbor), and a Sunset cruise on the StarLite Sapphire out of South Pasadena. We have many more in the works and if you have an idea or a great venue please let us know!! Our goal is to have one each month so please keep an eye out for the flyers. The best way to keep up to date on current events for the SCPBA and SCLEC is to join our Facebook page, Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association. Many of you were already members of Sun Coast PBA, however, we had to change the name and format to keep up with Facebook policies, so please look for us at Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association. As always, also check your e- mail for our announcements and, if you aren t getting them, please call the office ( ) to make sure we have your correct on file. We are also looking into a texting service/program that will allow us to send you a text with upcoming information and announcements to make it that much easier to keep you informed, so stay tuned!!! We would also like to send out a huge THANK YOU to Billy Hume, Sr. and the Fourth Annual Cuts For Cops fundraiser put on by Billy s Corner Barber Shop (2031 4th Street North St. Petersburg). Billy started this fabulous event in 2011 after three of our members, Sgt. Tom Baitinger, Ofc. Jeff Yaslowitz and Ofc. David Crawford were killed in the line of duty. Billy organized a great fundraiser to help raise money for the fallen officer s families. In 2012 and ever since, Billy has continued to put on this event to raise money for the SCLEC s Fallen Officer Fund. He organized local businesses in the area to donate money, time and product to the event. This event has the feel of a neighborhood carnival with free food, SCLEC Keeping Busy! By JD Lofton, Executive Vice President We have many more [Happy Hours] in the works and if you have an idea or a great venue, please let us know! drinks and entertainment for young and old. Billy then opens his barber shop where he and his crew (Billy Jr. and Michelle) cut hair all day long on what is traditionally their busiest day of the week and donate EVERY SIN- GLE DOLLAR COLLECTED to the cause. Let me tell you, this event is like nothing I ve ever seen and those three barbers cut hair for eight straight hours with a waiting list several hours long. The event has gotten so popular that it draws a strong, steady crowd all day long. This year, in addition to our community friends and supporters, we were visited by Former Mayor (and true SCPBA friend) Bill Foster, Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin (St Petersburg), Congressman David Jolly, FL Senator Jeff Brandes, Bay News 9 s own Chuck Henson, Steve and Julie Weintraub (Gold & Diamond Source Clearwater) and many more. Billy has shown, without a doubt, what a true friend he is to the SCPBA, SCLEC, and all of the law enforcement officers of Pinellas County. We are lucky to have him. Thank you Billy!!! SCLEC is also excited to continue our efforts to protect our members through a proactive approach to keeping you safe and to make you the best cops you can be. Last year we were able to put on a seminar, The Warrior s Edge through the partnership and generosity of the St. Petersburg College SEPSI-Allstate Center and Lt. Jim Glennon of Lifeline Training and Caliber Press which met with great revues. This year we are taking a more hands on approach and have partnered with 1st Responders Tactical and Safety (owned by Sgt. Raphael Navarro, PCSO) to offer a series of Tactical Casualty Care classes hosted at the SCPBA office (see next page). These classes are four hours long and will provide you with instruction through classroom and scenario training to understand and render battlefield first aid under fire using simple techniques and equipment already in use by most agencies in the area. This four hour class is occasionally offered by 1st Responders Tactical and Safety at the SEPSI-Allstate Center. When you leave this class, you will be well versed and comfortable in rendering combat first aid to yourself and/or your partner until medical help arrives. Don t be That Guy standing there watching your partner suffering and not knowing what to do. For more information or to sign up, please call the office ( ). I hope to see you there!!! 2

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4 Greetings!!! I have been contemplating what this article would be written about since I finished the previous Informant article. As the days and weeks have passed, one issue keeps coming to mind. As most of you know, we are in the process of selecting a new Chief of Police in St. Petersburg. Leadership has been at the forefront of the wish lists from the officers in St. Petersburg. The consensus of what the rank and file at SPPD are asking for is strong leadership and a Chief who remembers what it is like to be a patrol officer. To my shock and amazement, I, along with the rest of St. Petersburg, learned a lesson of what Leadership is not. I learned that a community meeting was held at a local church in St. Petersburg on March 11, According to the article, this community meeting was an invite only meeting consisting of 125 local black clergy, city activists, and police officers to discuss what they believed was widespread racial turmoil in the St. Petersburg Police Department. Also invited to this meeting was Deputy Mayor Tomalin, the Tampa Bay Times, and the Weekly Challenger. Shockingly, a very high ranking St. Petersburg Police Department official was, at the very least, a partner in using the meeting to promote beliefs that there is widespread racial turmoil, and that black officers believe that white leadership is actively, and in an organized manner, working to prevent black high ranking officers from being able to do their job. It was also alleged that black officers do not have the same chance of being promoted as white officers. It was also clearly stated to Deputy Mayor Tomalin that she should inform the Mayor that an independent, outside investigation of the Police Department should be done, because the Police Department does not have the best intentions of the minority community. I wonder if this high ranking official is applying for the position of Chief of Police? The following day, Mayor Kriseman followed recommendations from Deputy Mayor Tomalin that the promotional process would be placed on hold, and an independent review would be done of the promotional process. Mayor Kriseman has also indicated that, if the review finds that these allegations are factual or are found to be baseless, the offending parties would be held accountable. I applaud Mayor Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Tomalin for the way they have handled the situation. I also feel that the way the situation was handled showed excellent leadership from them both. What Leadership Is NOT!!! By George Lofton, Senior Vice President What truly surprises and repulses me is the example set forth by the ranking police department personnel. At a time when the rank and file officers, as well as the rest of the St. Petersburg Police Department, are unashamedly telling everyone who will listen that what they are craving for most is LEADERSHIP!!! Sadly and disturbingly, ranking department members took the path furthest from what the rank and file are begging for. I have my own opinion, but I ll ask you to consider a few things and develop your own opinion. The purpose of this meeting is to whine about how certain officers are not being treated fairly or promoted properly. It is also to cry about how the St. Petersburg Police Department doesn t have good intentions for the minority community. Although the SPPD General Orders state that, if you witness or believe that someone is the victim of racial bias, you should immediately report this to your immediate supervisor or the Internal Affairs Division. If you are uncomfortable with reporting to your supervisor or Internal Affairs Division, you should make the report to Human Resources. I don t think there is a clause that says you can also elect to attend an invite only meeting to ambush the Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg with allegations with no evidence on hand to back the allegations up. If the organizers of this meeting are going to hold a meeting and invite the press because they feel a part of the community is being unfairly treated, why would they then make the press leave the meeting room, only to have them sit adjacent to a collapsible wall so that they could clearly hear what the meeting was about, but be unable to identify who was making the allegations? I see that as moving your agenda without having to be responsible for what is said or the allegations made. I also think it is interesting that everybody who was speaking out was allegedly a black police officer according to the press, however, the press was intentionally prevented from being in the same room to verify who was saying what. As a member of the St. Petersburg Police Depart - ment, how do you stand by allowing accusations to be made that the promotional process is intentionally flawed against minority officers, but you have allowed this to occur over several promotional processes without taking action? Now that you are finally taking action, you choose to do it outside of the general orders (General Order II-25). I have heard it said on numerous occasions that we are held to a higher standard. I mistakenly thought the persons who were speaking were speaking of St. Petersburg Police Officers when they said we, but 4

5 apparently we is really us (the rank and file) and not you sir. I m pretty sure that leadership is do as I do. It most certainly is not do as I say, not as I do. I feel comfortable in my opinion, as on the day following Mayor Kriseman s stance, that if there were baseless allegations, the people making the baseless allegations would be held accountable. The Commander of USB held what can only be very loosely called a press conference to talk about the meeting held just two days prior. In this press conference, the Commander of USB tried to clarify what the press heard for themselves at the meeting. I have watched the press conference numerous times. There are only two things that I can conclude from this press conference. The Commander of USB didn t clarify anything, actually what he did is FLIP FLOP what the concerns reported from the meeting were. The second thing that is clear in this press conference is the Commander of USB appears generally scattered and scared. I guess I m not the only person who knows that Mayor Kriseman is a man of his word and that somebody is going to be held accountable for the negative light this entire sequence of events has shed on our city. If I were the Commander of USB, I would sure hope that the allegations against the St. Petersburg Police Department have some sort of fact or evidence to support them. The last example of what leadership is not, is the allegations that at least two ranking members of the St. Petersburg Police Department stood by and allowed to be made that there is racial turmoil in the rank and file. That is the furthest thing from the truth! The rank and file work day in and day out together without any turmoil. The rank and file don t see the color of each other s skin. They see the person, the officer, the human being. The rank and file as a whole work together, sacrifice together, fight evil together, and do anything AND everything they can to make sure each and every one of us goes home at the end of our respective shifts. I see this every single day. I have seen this in the toughest and darkest of times and in the joyous and happy times as well. Unfortunately, it is apparent that these ranking members of the department at the meeting have clearly forgotten this. It is apparent that they have become so far removed from the reality of the rank and file that they are operating from the land of make believe. I have to ask myself, what kind of leader attends a meeting and allows allegations to be made that are designed to clearly divide the rank and file and then to pit those officers they are supposed to be leading against each other? You see, we are committed to each other. We are brothers and sisters of the badge. The more I thought about these issues, the more concerned I become; the real story of the fallout of this meeting has not yet been reported to the world. As a result of this calculated effort to create the perception of racial turmoil within the SPPD, and the perception that a minority Chief of Police is the only way to make the world right again, two things have become clear. First, the rank and file as a whole have come together and become tighter as a group. This includes everybody regardless of race, creed, sex, sexual preference or religion. You see, we are committed to each other. We are brothers and sisters of the badge. We are family and our bond and our love for each other is forged through daily trials and tribulations that people who are not police officers will never know. Second, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and the rest of the administration at City Hall have sent a clear and convincing message that they have not and will never be intimidated or bullied into decisions or actions. It is also clear that they will not allow people or employees to bully or intimidate others through baseless accusations, and will hold those people accountable for their threats and actions. Until March 10, 2014, the ranking members of the police department in attendance at this meeting held a position of respect and credibility. As of March 11, 2014, after a 90 minute meeting and a subsequent press conference two days later, they have been reduced to just people wearing uniforms. Officers will follow their lawful orders, but their respect and their honor have been lost forever. If you would like to get additional information, please see the following articles in the Tampa Bay Times: Tensions high between black, white officers in St. Petersburg Police Department March 12, 2014 Mark Puente, Times Staff Writer Black St. Petersburg Officers share their experiences amid allegations of racism March 13, 2014 Mark Puente, Times Staff Writer St. Petersburg police official says concerns of black officers are broader than promotions With video. March 14, 2014 Mark Puente, Times Staff Writer 5

6 Keeping The Brotherhood Strong By L. E. Cox, SPPD DUI Unit This year is off to a busy and fast start with the heated topics within the City of St. Petersburg; the main focus is on the hunt for a new Chief of Police. The media has created a lot of confusion that is leading the public to believe there is turmoil within the department. Let me be clear, there are some who think there is a great divide between the Black Officers and White Officers, the Hispanic Officers and White Officers, oh yea, and the great divide between Asian Officers, Jewish Officers and Albanian Officers against every other race and ethnic group. I m here to tell you that this divide that was suggested does not exist. The Brotherhood that we are all apart of is STRONGER today than ever and will continue to be that way. I would like to remind all PBA members the importance of staying informed and involved within the union. This will continue to strengthen the union in the continuous efforts of moving forward. I encourage all members to Ask a Rep if you have a question relating to the union, a policy within your department, or when the next quarterly meeting is. Last quarter we had two fabulous events, one at Nolan s Pub (Safety Harbor) on Thursday, February 20th and a sunset cruise on the Starlite Sapphire charter boat (Pasadena) on March 25th. On the cruise we had food catered by McNally s Neighborhood Grille (St. Peters - burg) which was phenomenal. Both events were for PBA members and a guest. We had an amazing turn out for both events and we look forward to having future events with more member attendance. There are some pictures below from the Sunset cruise. Don t miss the next one!!! There are future plans to have a Happy Hour at McNally s Neighborhood Grille and other fun places, so keep a look out for those plans. Also in the works is a family day which will be announced later. I look forward to seeing more members getting involved and being at the next quarterly meeting. All the best!!! 6

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8 What Is Right Within SPPD By Markus Hughes, St. Petersburg P.D. Sgts/Lts Board Member Often as I sit down to write an article for the quarterly Informant, I try to find a good topic to cover. There are so many aspects to law enforcement that it s often difficult to narrow down a specific area to focus on at that time. However, 2014 has proven otherwise. As I sit down to write today, I am still bothered about a series of articles printed over the past month, which have attempted to shine the usual unflattering light upon our agency. I m sure all of you are familiar with these news articles from the Times that have tried, yet again, to cause a rift within our department and community. I found the topics within the articles to be inapprehensible. I didn t feel in any way that the issues brought up by the journalist are even shared by a large number of members within our agency. I don t want to go into the specifics of the allegations made against the department, but rather, to remind everyone about what is right within our department. I was able to attend a meeting with various officers over the past month, where we also discussed issues facing our department and the transition of dealing with a new mayor. We discussed the promotional lists, the process we face over the next few months, and even some personal goals we have for the future. Although these topics were covered in this meeting, it was not the purpose for us to get together. You see, this was an impromptu gathering, set up by a series of text messages and Facebook invites. We met at a sports bar, had a few beers, and enjoyed the company of our fellow colleagues outside of work. We also talked about vacation spots, home renovation projects, and planned future running events. There were many topics covered by the ten of us and some great ideas presented. We didn t invite the press. This isn t such an odd occurrence, as I m sure there are many of you that have these same types of gatherings throughout the year. It s these meetings that allow us to deal with the issues and stressors we are all faced with at work. Of course, there will be times when we all need to vent and let out some frustrations about what s going on with our professional lives. However, to attempt to bring up issues to the public over these frustrations just seems childish to me. It s akin to a toddler throwing their temper over being told no. We are better than this and it just saddens me to see it played out all over again. It seems like a waste of time and funding to have the mayor appoint yet another investigation into what is obviously a fair process from the beginning, just because some feel they should have performed better. We are a nationally and state accredited agency, and as such, we follow the proper process to ensure a fair and balanced testing system. This is the same system that has been used since I started here 15 years ago and was never really challenged until now. So for those of you on the lists, please be patient and allow Mayor Kriseman to conduct his business as he sees fit. Congratulations to all of you for the work you put in to perform as well as you did. Having participated in the process four times myself, I understand the work and effort that goes into preparing for the assessments. Regardless if promotions occur next month, or in six months, those who are awarded the new positions will need to continue to lead this department in the right direction. We are not just a group of adults who all decided to work together at the same employer. We are more of a family, with a set of common goals and ideals for the department and the community we serve. We all come from very diverse backgrounds and from locations all over the country. We all have different ideas and expectations about what we expect out of ourselves, as well as how we can make things better. It is through our diverse backgrounds and various strengths we possess that we will all be able to make this agency a better place for everyone. 8

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11 A No Cost Obligation Just For You By Steve Corbet, SPPD Detective Retired (& lovin it!!!) Ijust received the second notice from Vanessa regarding another deadline for our newsletter, so I guess it s time I put some words together to share with everyone. I truly hope every member of the Sun Coast PBA takes a few minutes to read our newsletter. Some really great information is disseminated to our membership via the newsletter, as well as anyone who is able to log into our website. If you like what you find in the newsletter, I invite you to encourage others to read it also. If you find something you choose to take issue with, I invite you to communicate with the author to explain your concerns, as everyone really does have a voice, and it needs to be heard by others. In the past, I ve written about retirement and pensions, I ve expressed some political concerns, and I ve challenged everyone to step up, take part, and become active in the world around us. As I pondered a topic to write about today, I was again at the junction of do something and what will I write about. As has happened too many times in the past, all I saw was a blank screen. I began to realize I did not want to preach, nor did I want to challenge anyone with a project. These thoughts were followed with a desire to be brief, and to follow the old K.I.S.S. theory. So, here goes... Four simple thoughts came to mind. I ll attempt to keep this article short and only address these four: Register to vote at your local Supervisor of Elections Office Your personal health Update any and all beneficiary forms Hug your loved ones. If you re already registered to vote, GREAT! If you re not, please go do so, and soon. Your vote really does count. Elections cannot be won unless registered voters vote. The upcoming fall mid-term elections will be hard fought by everyone. Local, county, state, and federal offices and issues will be on the ballots. Please be certain you ll be able to vote and then do so. Why would I speak of your personal health? Because it s important. I was raised to not be selfish. Having five brothers and sisters I learned at an early age, sharing was an everyday requirement. But I later learned there was a time to be selfish. Sound confusing? It s not. You have to be selfish about yourself first, so that you can then share with others. Being selfish about your personal health will allow you to share life with everyone around you, especially your family. You ve got to take care of your health in order to help your family. I feel the vast majority of our local law enforcement community has extremely quality health care plans available and affordable. Please take advantage of it so you ll be able to share your life with those close to you. The updating of beneficiary forms idea actually comes to me via Vanessa at the PBA office. On March 25th, Vanessa put out an announcing it was time for everyone to do some Spring Cleaning! and she invited you to stop by the PBA office to update and verify your beneficiary forms. I ll just add that I d like for you to check with your employers, insurance companies, banks, credit unions, and anyone else where you may have or need to have beneficiary forms on file. Make certain the beneficiary forms are updated. There are too many reasons to list here, but I will tell you I personally know of tragic events that have occurred, followed with outdated or no beneficiary forms, that only added to the tragedy. Please do this also for the benefit of those close to you. Last, just let me encourage you to hug those that mean the most to you. Our children will never tire of getting a hug. Our spouses, our companions, our partners, also can use a hug. Be careful out there. A peace of mind in this chaotic world. The Sun Coast PBA is here for you! Does your agency have an article this issue? If not, ask your Unit Rep: Why? 11

12 *Gift cards are awarded once the person whom was referred becomes an active member. Also, the choice of card varies based on the availability of the actual card you choose. This is subject to terminate or change without notice.* who live the day to day life of Law Enforcement know how stressful and terrifying it can be at times. We felt that there needed to be some sort of support group out there to help, not only in times of tragedy, but in dealing with the day to day dynamics of this challenging lifestyle. What LEO S ANGELS offers... Who We Are... We are a non for profit organization created to provide support to police officers and their loved ones. LEO S ANGELS was founded by a group of police wives after the tragic events that took place in January and February of Those Monthly Support Meetings Planned Social Events Beach Days Cook-outs Family Fun Days Holiday Parties Opportunities to Support the LEO Community Fundraisers Fallen Officer Tributes Volunteer Opportunities Contact Us Follow us on Facebook 12

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16 As I write this, I cannot believe it has already been three years since our last contract negotiations; however, the time is upon us again. As you are reading this, we will have already received your feedback and begun negotiations for the new contract. I wanted to thank all of you who provided your ideas and look forward to the discussions they will spark. We have already received several good responses and the team is committed in bringing the best contract to vote. As I mentioned during our negotiations the last time, the exchange between Sheriff Gualtieri and the negotiations team was professional, informative, and amiable. I look forward to such an environment as we work to address several of the continuing members concerns, to include being one of the lowest paid agencies in the county and one without a step plan. I also wanted to inform all of you that we do not wait three years to bring issues to the Sheriff s attention. In lieu of such, the Sheriff has agreed to meet with us once a month. During such meetings, we discuss a host of issues that the Sheriff listens to and, on many occasions, takes immediate action. For those of you who have never been involved in negotiations, it is very beneficial to have such access. At other agencies, requests are only discussed during contract negotiations and, by that time, minor issues often grow into large ones and unnecessarily strain the formal negotiations process. Now we don t always get what we want during these meetings, nor do we get carte blanche during negotiations; however, we do get to present our issues and needs to a Sheriff who always gives us an answer. Again, it is not always the answer we want, but it is one that is based upon rationale and mutual respect. Additionally, the Sheriff often makes favorable decisions that immediately benefit both the agency and our members. The reason I spell all this out is because of the horror stories I heard regarding prior negotiations years ago. Negotiations in which other Sheriffs were rarely present and the response was often No without a reason or No simply because that s just how it was. I cannot fathom how anything could get done under such circumstances and how frustrating it must have been for the negotiations Tough Decisions By Mike Leiner, Pinellas Co. S.O., Sgts/Lts Board Member...it always seems the SPPD has a disproportionate amount of exterior groups that strive to cause strife and discord in an attempt to force the Mayor to take unnecessary action. team. Thankfully, I was not exposed to such and I have experienced an overall positive exchange so far. As I mentioned before, I m extremely hopeful this continues, but we will know for certain after the next few months. In contrast to this, I see what our brothers and sisters are experiencing at St. Pete Police Department with the installation of a new mayor. I have heard Mayor Kriseman has been receptive to the PBA s recent concerns and I am very thankful he has taken the time to actively listen to our members. The issues that concern me are not related to the new mayor, but directly related to those persons who cause disruption and disdain from outside the organization for no reason other than to further their own personal cause. I have closely followed the organizational challenges occurring in the SPPD and I find it a great credit to the officers who continue to do their jobs without being prejudiced or influenced by the political chaos surrounding them. During the last election, the PCSO experienced similar issues, but once the smoke cleared, it was back to business as usual. The difference is, regardless of whoever you supported for Sheriff, once elected, the Sheriff pretty much makes the final decision on things. With the City of St. Petersburg, you have a newly elected mayor that the citizens have voted into office and who will eventually need to appoint a Chief of Police to oversee law enforcement operations. However, it doesn t stop there. This mayor is continuously bombarded by requests from special interest groups, often made up of people out for their own individual benefit. These are the same people who will attempt to tear down an organization so that they can step over the carnage to reach new heights. This is not to say that all groups are made up of such self-absorbed people. There are those who generally care for the city and generously give of their time in making things better. But it always seems the SPPD has a disproportionate amount of exterior groups that strive to cause strife and discord in an attempt to force the Mayor to take unnecessary action. I sincerely hope if there are issues, they are addressed and resolved. But in the event it is found that any of these issues are without merit, I hope the mayor and his staff have the political resolve to address those as well and 16

17 stand firm based upon what is morally right as opposed to politically right. I also hope that once the mayor makes his selection, he allows the Chief of Police to carry out his or her duties without influence. As this politically motivated process plays out, I wish all of our fellow law enforcement professionals at SPPD the very best. In my opinion, we are very lucky such a dynamic is not as present at the PCSO. We do have our issues, but at least we are in a position that our voices are heard directly by the person making the decisions. And even with the issues and changes we have faced, we are still allowed to do our jobs with the support of the department and without major influence from outside groups. I am optimistic this will continue as we progress through our negotiations process and hopefully obtain a competitive wage and benefits package. It is obvious this would be advantageous to all of us at the PCSO, but I also believe this gives us an additional opportunity to demonstrate how beneficial such a process can be to any organization. I think it is very important that we realize that members of both the PCSO and SPPD do an outstanding job. These law enforcement professionals all go to work to protect and serve and take great pride in what they do. I think it is equally important to realize that everyone can t always get everything they want but, through open and frank discussion, compromise is reached which everyone can agree to. However, such compromise must be based upon dialogue initiated from factual issues and not ones fabricated to advance a biased cause. The leader of any organization must have the ability to wade through nonsense, identify leaders who have brought forth good ideas that are beneficial to everyone, and dismiss or admonish those who submit ideas designed to do nothing more than I think it is very important that we realize that members of both the PCSO and SPPD do an outstanding job. further their own personal agendas. This ability, coupled with the fortitude to make tough decisions, is paramount in steering an organization in the right direction. As it relates to law enforcement, this right direction results in a happier and more efficient workforce; ultimately resulting in a better work product and improved service to ALL citizens of Pinellas County. And, regardless of whether or not you re a Sheriff, Mayor, Chief of Police, Deputy, or Officer, isn t that what it s all about? 17

18 Not Founded, Not Sustained, NOT WARRANTED By Brian Bubba Bilbrey, St. Pete P.D. Every one of us entered this field knowing we were, and will always be, held to a higher and different standard than the average citizen. We accept this as part of being a deliverer of justice, as we must be accountable for the great authority we are given. One way of being held accountable is the veil of transparency we live under. Every single key stroke, every single word we utter, and every single physical action we take while on duty is subject to be scrutinized by not only our management, but the public and citizens we serve daily. Living in a glass house is just one of the stresses a professional law enforcement officer endures throughout an entire career and, obviously, it SHOULD be one of the most minor stressors we encounter. Here in the culture we work in, however, you can expect the local biased and sensationalizing media to request your name, personal information (excluding what s covered by Florida Statute), your personnel file, your work product, and sometimes even your photograph. They do this in the name of journalism, but I think we all know it s more than likely to sell more newspapers. Living in a glass house here at SPPD still wouldn t be that big of deal if our leaders conducted themselves accordingly and with common sense. Accordingly and with common sense would be to receive citizen complaints and deal with them in the same manner in which most agencies do by culling them and determining which complaints warrant investigation. Prior leaders at this agency have taught the majority of supervisors and managers that the more employee investigations conducted, the better our agency appears to the public. Now I m not just blowing smoke here, this is easily proven by statements and recommendations from the recent Public Safety Task Force called to order when Mayor Kriseman took office. It s also proven by the report filed in the sunshine by that same committee, headed up by a former Assistant Chief who didn t make a single one of those changes when he had the actual authority to do so. Currently a citizen (or even a non-citizen for that matter) has several avenues to generate a complaint against an officer. They can call the communications center and speak with the officer s or detective s supervisor, manager, director, even an Assistant Chief, or the Chief himself. If they don t want to take that route, then they can call Internal Affairs, in which the major of that unit has the authority to determine the merits of the complaints and either investigate them as an internal investigation, or send them back to the bureau for which an employee is assigned to be investigated by a supervisor. Currently, many of the investigations are for complaints of the lawful discharge of the employee s duties. Let s break this down a little bit more... You witness a suspect coming from a known home with known and documented drug activity. You witness this suspect make a hand to hand exchange with another person who quickly leaves the area. You witness this suspect commit a pedestrian violation and make contact with the suspect for the infraction. Good police work...right???? Three days after the incident, the suspect calls the department to file a complaint because you violated his civil rights by unlawfully detaining him. This is where the accordingly part of my statement comes in. The HAVE YOU MOVED? Please update your information! If you are one of these members, we need to hear from YOU. Please notify the PBA office of your change of address so that you won t miss any important mailings. Name: Soc. Sec. No. (Last 4 Digits):* New Address Street: City: State: Zip Phone No.: (Home) (Work) (Cell) (*Your social security number helps us identify you in case of similar names.) Return to: Sun Coast PBA, th Street North #1205, Clearwater, Florida or us at 18

19 suspect should be given his day in court to fight the infraction for which he was lawfully detained. No reason to investigate this any further...right? NOPE. Your supervisor then spends the better part of a week chasing down the suspect and any witnesses, only to obtain conflicting accounts from the suspect and his own witness. More good police work...right? Instead of seeing this frivolous complaint for what it really is, the supervisor must continue the investigation in the form of a full on bureau level investigation, complete with your Garrity Rights and a union representative. This investigation is going nowhere and everyone knows it. The common sense portion of my statement comes in right about this time and that s when it s obvious that this suspect/complainant LIED. He lied about you, he slandered you, and he caused you days, if not weeks, of frustration in defending yourself for simply doing your job. The department can t prove that you unlawfully detained the suspect, and in fact can t prove out right that you just did your job. UNFOUNDED you say? Not a chance. Our department views this type of complaint as unable to prove one way or the other, so it s NOT SUSTAINED. A good majority of not-sustained investigations still receive a Memo of Counseling. Your file now contains an investigation, which should have never been allowed to be made in the first place, and what are your options? Can you have this expunged? NOPE. Can you take the sworn affidavit of the complainant and have him charged with filing a false report? NOPE. Can you take the sworn affidavit of the complainant and hire a lawyer to sue for slander? NOPE. This type of mentality is one of the first issues which must be addressed by our new chief because, as it is now, it makes no sense for an officer to do anything except exactly what it is required of them. This mentality pushes officers to park under a tree and do nothing proactive, to not be involved in the community they serve, and to expect to be called on the carpet for getting involved and actually being a cop. Any citizen should be able to see our personnel file and be able to tell who is a good cop, who isn t, and not be confused because almost every officer has numerous ridiculous investigations which were closed as Not Sustained when in fact they are UNWARRANTED. 19

20 Advertising Guidelines for The Informant Official Publication of the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association The Informant is published quarterly by the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association (PBA) solely for the benefit of its members. The publication, which is intended to help educate its readers throughout the community, is dedicated to the advancement of the law enforcement profession and the betterment of the community, through better and stronger relations between officers and the citizens they serve. The Informant is the official medium of expression for the Sun Coast PBA. All proceeds from the advertisements will benefit the association s cost of producing The Informant. The PBA encourages all advertisers to assist in educating readers and improving community relations wherever possible in their advertisements. The PBA retains the right to refuse any advertisement and to limit the number of advertisements in any given edition. Advertising rates effective January 1, 2014: Business Card $50.00 (per issue) 1/2 Page $ (per issue) 1/4 Page $70.00 (per issue) Full Page $ (per issue) PBA Hitch Receiver Cover for Your Vehicles! Florida PBA has recently added the PBA Hitch Receiver Cover to its list of items available for MEMBERS ONLY to purchase. It is blue high density plastic with gold printing. The cover comes with spring pin (shown) or you can use your own hitch pin. There are two sizes for either 2" or 1 1 4" receivers (please specify which size you need). Display them proudly on your vehicle or give them as a gift to your family and friends. Only $10 00 each MEMBERS ONLY: Send your check for $10 each (no sales tax) to: Florida PBA 300 East Brevard Street Tallahassee, Florida To contact Sun Coast PBA, please call (727) FAX: (727)

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