Archive for the ‘public safety’ Category

During 2014-15, Florida’s prison system has been rocked by a series of stories in state newspapers exposing a pattern of brutality, corruption and cover-ups in Florida prisons. The stories detailed gruesome incidents of prisoner abuse and deaths at the hands of correctional officers in an agency experiencing multiple years of high turnover, chronic understaffing, and budget woes.

prison-reformGov. Rick Scott named a new Secretary of the Department of Corrections in late 2014 – the fourth DOC secretary in four years – to clean up what was described as “a culture of corruption” in the prison system.

Now, a year later, what progress has Corrections Secretary Julie Jones made in the way of prison reform? What efforts are underway to advance public safety and improve the conditions of confinement in Florida’s prisons? What more needs to be done?

A panel of experts will seek answers to those questions at a dinner forum sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College on Dec. 1. The forum, titled Florida’s Prisons: How Goes Reform?, will be from 6 to 8:15 p.m. at the Seminole Campus Conference Center, 9200 113th St. N. it is co-sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and WEDU Television. Advance registration is required.

The panel will include Stacy Arias, Chief of Staff of the Department of Corrections; Julie Brown, the Miami Herald investigative reporter whose articles broke open the prison scandal, and former Florida Attorney General Richard Doran, who serves as Executive Committee Chairman for the Project on Accountable Justice (PAJ).

The forum represents the culmination of work done by PAJ to address prison reform over the last three years. A collaboration of St. Petersburg College, Florida State University, Baylor University and Tallahassee Community College, the project’s researchers analyzed the Florida system’s performance data and comparative analysis of best practices in other states. SPC’s Strategic Policy Institute also conducted three public forums in St. Petersburg and Tallahassee to gather input from experts.

Last spring, the project made five reform recommendations aimed at reducing recidivism, cutting prison costs, increasing professional standards, improving employee morale and creating independent oversight of prison operations – lack of which was cited as a contributing factor to inmate abuse, corruption, and systemic weaknesses. Legislation incorporating some of those recommendations was left in limbo when the House adjourned three days early, without voting on the prison reform legislation.

Tickets for the dinner and program are $25 for the general public, $20 for students and educators. Advance registration is required at http://solutions.spcollege.edu. For further information, call 727-394-6942.

Read Full Post »

As baby boomers, the largest American generation to date, begin retiring, they are leaving looming gaps in the workforce. The departures have drawn media attention to the growing number of openings in the Tampa Bay area for public servants, specifically in public safety, policy and utilities.

In the City of St. Petersburg, for instance, nearly a quarter of the police force is currently eligible to retire. And when veteran officers leave, they take institutional knowledge with them.

St. Petersburg College is working closely with cities, counties, municipalities and companies to train and expose its students to the diversity of jobs available in the public utilities, public safety and public policy sectors.

SPC Career Exploration Event

public sector jobsRecently, more than 100 people attended SPC’s Public Utilities Career Exploration event at the Seminole Campus, where they learned about current and future career openings, training requirements, salaries and scholarship opportunities.

The annual career exploration event began a few years ago with a focus on job opportunities for students in SPC’s A.S. degree program in environmental science, but has expanded to include public policy students. The college eventually plans to hold the event twice a year and include students in information technology.

“The event illustrates a strong partnership between educators and local industries to inform students and the public of career opportunities in our region,” said Jason Krupp, director of Workforce Services for SPC. “It is very rewarding to help connect students with real opportunities in a sector they may not have considered otherwise.”

Job openings in public utilities

One of the most diverse departments in any municipality, public utilities positions range from mechanics and equipment operators to lab techs, biologists and chemists to accountants, marketers and attorneys. In St. Petersburg, Water Resources is the city’s largest operation and provides potable water distribution, wastewater (sewage) collection, treatment and disposal, and reclaimed water for irrigation purposes to city residents.

“Because water is a limited natural resource with increasing demand and regulation, there is a strong future need for skilled workers in public utilities,” Krupp said.

City of Seminole to hire SPC public policy students

Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds recognized this need and recently announced an agreement with SPC to hire one SPC public policy student or graduate each year for the next 10 years. This agreement is a testament of the high-quality instruction and career preparation provided by SPC faculty and staff.

The trainee will work their way through four departments: administration, public safety, community development and public works, to receive exposure to and specialized experience in the various areas of city government.

Public safety training

Over at SPC’s Allstate Center, students can enter a training academy to become a police or corrections officer or firefighter, move up in their career by earning an academic degree or take mandatory and specialized training available for emergency and first responders, military personnel, public safety, emergency management and judicial professionals and even the general public.

Read Full Post »


From left, back row: Lt. Scott Matthews, Sgt. George Martin, Lt. James Wentz, Lt. Kurt Romanosky, Lt. Hardy Taliaferro, Sgt. Bryan Leach, Sgt. Robert Serrano, Lt. Jeffrey Perrigo
Front row: Sgt. Gregory Danzig, Lt. Traci Reid, Major Lora McFee, Sgt. Emily Deleuze, Sgt. Jake Popkowski

Of the 13 members of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office that Sheriff Bob Gualtieri promoted Wednesday, six were St. Petersburg College alumni.

At the promotion ceremony, held Nov. 19, family members and friends pinned new badges on their fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, who had just been promoted. Be sure to congratulate them on Facebook.

They included:

Promoted to Sergeant
Gregory Danzig, SPC alumnus
Emily Deleuze
Bryan Leach, SPC alumnus
George Martin
Jake Popkowski, SPC alumnus
Robert Serrano

Promoted to Lieutenant
Scott Matthews
Jeffrey Perrigo, SPC alumnus
Traci Reid, SPC alumna
Kurt Romanosky, SPC alumnus
Hardy Taliaferro
James Wentz

Promoted to Major
Lora McFee

Read Full Post »

St. Petersburg College’s Center for Public Safety Innovation announces the launch of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Executive Session on Police Leadership website at www.bjaexecutivesessiononpoliceleadership.org. This collaborative effort between SPC and BJA, the multi-year Executive Session (2010-2014), focused on the role of policing and police leaders in the changing environment of 21st century public safety.

The Executive Session on Police Leadership assembled leaders from policing, local government, national associations and academics for a series of meetings to discuss the critical issues facing leaders in the coming decades. Over the course of the four-year project, these leaders directed working groups that examined specific topics in depth. Those topics ranged from trust and collaboration to problem solving and the law to leadership development in a new age of learning.

“The work of the Executive Session will make a timely contribution to national discussions on the changing nature of public safety and the role of police leaders in guiding their organizations and developing the next generation of leaders,” said Denise E. O’Donnell, director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance. “We join with St. Petersburg College, the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the Police Executive Research Forum in celebrating the release of this website.”

The multimedia web site offers a mix of downloadable video, audio pieces, long and short papers and discussion tools that examine police leadership from many angles. Highlights of the website include an eight-part video series that addresses, among other subjects, the relevance of Peel’s Principles today.  Current leaders can use the site to become more effective in their own work and in their ability to prepare new leaders for the future. The material can also be used as a teaching resource for individuals involved in leadership development.

“It is wonderful to see St. Petersburg College championing a project that can truly impact how executives lead today and into the future,” said Darrel W. Stephens, co-director of the Executive Session project, executive director of Major Cities Chiefs and former City of St. Petersburg Police Chief. “Agencies from coast to coast and the communities they serve will be impacted by the work being released this month.”

ABOUT CPSI: The Center for Public Safety Innovation is based at St. Petersburg College’s Allstate Center and develops and delivers high quality training for emergency and first responders, military personnel, and the general public using state-of-the-art technology and best practices in education and training.

ABOUT SPC: St. Petersburg College was Florida’s first two-year college (founded in 1927) as well as the state’s first community college to offer bachelor’s degrees (2002). Today, SPC is one of 28 state colleges, and with 11 learning sites, serves as a model for incorporating bachelor’s degree programs into traditional two-year institutions.

ABOUT BJA: The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office.

Read Full Post »

Public-Safety-Summer-Camp-is-a-Huge-Hit-with-Middle-School-Youth---logoMore than three dozen Pinellas County middle school students attended the 2014 Public Safety Summer Camp hosted by the Center for Public Safety Innovation at SPC’s Allstate Center June 16-20.

Campers got a broad and diverse taste of the public safety profession and learned:

  • lifesaving techniques of CPR
  • how K-9 dogs are used to fight crime
  • how criminal investigations are conducted, including fingerprinting, evidence collection and preservation techniques
  • the importance of internet safety
Students participate in a rock wall climbing exercise to better understand the physical challenges faced by law enforcement.

Students participate in a rock wall climbing exercise to better understand the physical challenges faced by law enforcement.

Students got to spend time with SPC Law Enforcement Academy recruits and learned firsthand what it is like to train as a law enforcement officer. Students learned about the physical requirements for a career in public safety and how to overcome challenges through a rock wall climbing experience.

Speakers at the camp included St. Petersburg Police Chief David DeKay, Director of Urban Affairs for the City of St. Petersburg Nikki Gaskin-Capehart and Executive Director of SPC’s Center for Public Safety Innovation Eileen LaHaie. The three discussed the importance public safety plays in the community and how campers would interact with public safety professionals during the summer camp.

The camp also included several field trips to the:

  • St. Petersburg Police Department
  • Pinellas County Justice Center
  • St. Petersburg Fire Department

“I loved the field trips,” said camper Anthony Massa, 12. “We got to see some interesting places and see what those jobs were like.”

The week-long camp culminated in a graduation ceremony where campers received certificates of completion. All of the parents surveyed indicated that the summer camp was a great experience for their children and 96 percent of the students would recommend the camp to their friends.

Several agencies were contributed to this year’s summer camp:

  • Pinellas County Campus Police
  • Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
  • St. Petersburg Police
  • St. Petersburg Fire Department

Read Full Post »

J.C. Brock celebrates being named Honorary Fire Chief by the Pinellas County Fire Chiefs' Association on June 25.

J.C. Brock celebrates being named Honorary Fire Chief by the Pinellas County Fire Chiefs’ Association on June 25.

J.C. Brock, retired Chief Executive Officer at the St. Petersburg College Allstate Center, was named Honorary Fire Chief by the Pinellas County Fire Chiefs’ Association on June 25.

PCFCA President Chief Bert Polk, along with fellow fire chiefs, county staff and SPC Fire Training Center staff, met with Brock to recognize his contributions to fire service education and the fire academy over the years.

Brock retired as the Allstate Center’s Campus Executive Officer on June 30.

View the SPC Facebook gallery to view more photos from the event.

Read Full Post »

The Center for Public Safety Innovation at St. Petersburg College will present a seminar on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, the Castle Doctrine and the legal responsibilities of using a firearm.

The half-day seminar, from noon to 4 p.m. or from 5 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 9, is open to the public, law enforcement officers and others who carry a gun. It will be at the Allstate Center, 3200 34th St. S, St. Petersburg.

The training will examine Florida law, case law and the importance of knowing licensing requirements when carrying a concealed firearm.

The seminar presenter, Attorney Chip Purcell, will share his knowledge and expertise of these laws. He is a graduate of Oklahoma City University, College of Law. He is a practicing attorney in the State of Oklahoma and the State of Florida. He is a member of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Western District of Oklahoma and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Purcell is a former prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office in Tampa and has lectured on constitutional law, criminal trial procedure and construction lien laws in Florida. He is a member of the Florida Bar, the Hillsborough County Bar Association and the Hillsborough County Trial Lawyers Association. He has served as a board member for state and local charities.

The seminar cost is $59. To register online, sign in or create a profile, then select the class under the category Public Safety, Criminal Justice In-service. Questions: Contact Mary Weingart at weingart.mary@spcollege.edu or 727-341-4500.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 183 other followers