Posted 24 days ago
St. Petersburg police officers will no longer respond to non-violent 911 calls, such as quality-of-life complaints or mental health concerns, amid nationwide calls for budget cuts and policing changes, the agency announced.
The Florida city’s police department will instead send employees from its newly created Community Assistance Liaison division, which officials described as “a social service agency." They will respond to 911 calls pertaining to a number of issues, including drug overdoses, disorderly intoxications, suicide crises and panhandling, the department said in a Thursday press release.
“Change is coming to St. Pete Police Department,” said Chief of Police Anthony Holloway during a Thursday press conference, referencing the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, a Black man, died after a White police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Holloway said the police department spoke with faith and community groups, protesters and union officials, in the wake of Floyd’s death.
“After all those conversations, we had one common goal. That common goal is very simple: Our citizen is asking for change. The City of St. Petersburg and the police department is ready for that change.”
City officials have, in turn, ordered the reallocation of $3.1 million in federal grant money and $3.8 million in earmarked city funding to the new program, according to the release. Th... (Read more)
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