On January 6 at 7 a.m., St. Pete Beach will disband its police department and contract with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) for all police matters. Currently the city uses PCSO for services such as forensic services and K-9 work. The additional services will include the following:
• Routine patrol, marine patrol and periodic beach patrol
• One Community Service Deputy who will work a 40-hour, five day week
• Three sergeant and eight deputies working every day
• Vehicles for every officer
• The Sheriff will get his direction from the commission and/or the city manager about law enforcement policy issues. This applies to the level of service.
• The Sheriff will defend and pay for any lawsuits or judgments against the city that stems from something PCSO did.
• All current St. Pete Beach police officers will, if they wish, become PCSO employees at the time PCSO takes over policing for St. Pete Beach, although each officer will spend the first year as a probationary employee.
• The city will still receive the same amount of money collected from tickets PSCO deputies write.
• PCSO will keep crime records for St. Pete Beach, including the number and type of crimes committed and the number of arrests made for each type of crime. PCSO will also keep a dispatch log of calls for assistance. According to the contract, that log will record what time a call comes in to the dispatch center, the time PCSO dispatches the call, the deputy’s arrival time, the time the deputy completes the call and the location of the incident.
This will cost St. Pete Beach just over $2 million every year. PCSO took the city’s current police equipment in trade for the start up costs.