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The Florida Police Department will not send police officers to make non-violent calls



Police officers in St. Petersburg will no longer respond to nonviolent emergency calls such as complaints about quality of life or concerns about mental health.

The Florida City Police Department will instead send employees from the newly created Community Assistance Liaison Department, which officials have dubbed “the agency for social services.” They will respond to emergency calls that address a number of issues, including drug overdoses, disorderly poisoning, and suicide crises and panhandling, the department said in a Thursday press release.

“The St. Pete police force is about to change,” chief of police Anthony Holloway said during a press conference Thursday about George Floyd̵

7;s death on May 25 in Minneapolis. Floyd, a black man, died after a white cop held his knee against Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.

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Holloway said the police had spoken to religious and community groups, protesters, and union officials after Floyd’s death.

“After all these discussions, we had a common goal. This common goal is very simple: Our citizen asks for change. The city of St. Petersburg and the police are ready for this change. “

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City officials, in turn, have ordered the reallocation of $ 3.1 million in federal grants and $ 3.8 million in dedicated city funds for the new program. The funds were originally intended to be used to hire 25 more police officers for the department.

According to the press release, the CAL officers will respond to the following calls:

  • Drunk people
  • Mental health crises
  • Drug overdose
  • Disorderly poisoning
  • Suicide crises
  • Homelessness complaints and panhandling
  • Neighborhood disputes
  • Truancy or disorderly minor
  • Messy teenagers in primary schools

The program is scheduled to start on October 1st.

Holloway explained that the average age of police officers is 25 and most of them don’t even have children. “But we are sometimes asked to help someone raise their child.”

Holloway said officials have insufficient training in the region and are not experts in this type of problem.

Of the 259,800,911 calls in 2019, the St. Petersburg Police Department responded to an estimated 12,700 calls for help related to these problems.

On Thursday, Holloway also said the department is reviewing the use of violent policies and handling complaints. It monitors calls to determine whether or not to respond at all.

“Believe it or not, we’re still getting some calls over,” An African American is sitting in the park, he doesn’t look like us, “said the chief of police during the press conference.” We’re not coming to these calls. he or she doesn’t commit a crime, we won’t do it. “

He conducted additional training for the department and doubled the de-escalation and self-defense training once or twice a year.

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The department also requires civilian members to receive “fair and impartial policing” training that their sworn officers are already receiving. A civilian member of a local advocacy group or faith group is added to the police agency’s recruitment committee.


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