St Petersburg Defunds Police, Proving the Woke Mayor has Lost His Mind

July 11, 2020

By: Chris Ingram

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. – Woke liberal absurdity has taken to the shores of St. Petersburg and is decaying the remaining grey matter between the ears of the city’s mayor, Rick Kriseman.

The city, at the direction of the mayor, has implemented what it calls a “re-imagining” of the police department and police work. What it really is, is liberal code for de-funding police. That is because part of the Disney-esque, utopian notion of this new type of policing includes $3.1 million fewer dollars for certified law enforcement officers. If that re-imaging the budget isn’t actually defunding the police, you probably learned “common core” math.

Mayor Rick Kriseman St. Petersburg, Photo From Stpete.org

Starting in October, the department will stop sending a trained, armed, sworn law enforcement officer to a number of specified complaints. We are not talking about when a kid steals a candy bar from 7-11 here folks. Some of these newly designated “non-violent” calls have the potential to become very violent.

But don’t take my word for it, look at the announcement and the list as taken from the St. Pete P.D. press release:

“The City of St. Petersburg Police Department will create a new division within the police department called the Community Assistance Liaison, to expand our approach to public safety by retaining a social service agency to respond to non-violent calls for service from the public. Beginning October 1, instead of sending a police officer, a CAL team member will respond to the following issues:

Disorderly intoxication

Drug overdose

Intoxicated person

Mental health crisis

Suicide crisis

Mental Health Transport

Disorderly juvenile/truancy

Disorderly Juvenile at Elementary Schools

Panhandling

Homeless complaints

Neighborhood dispute

In 2019, the Police Department responded to approximately 12,700 calls for service on the above issues (out of a total of 259,800 calls for service).”

Let me get this straight, some social worker without a gun or police radio is going to handle drunks, druggies, mental whack jobs, disorderly kids who have no respect for authority, and neighborhood disputes? And they think there is no chance these will become violent or aggressive situations? Are they kidding?

And suicide? Did I understand this press release correctly? They are going to send social workers to suicide threats, and they think suicide crises are not violent? Do they realize when people threaten to take their own lives, that there is a huge potential for violence? This nonsense is so ridiculous I have to keep pinching myself to realize I am actually awake and not having a bad dream about First graders drafting public safety response laws.

“This is so typical of Democrats. They go so far into the system, they cut their nose off to spite their face. We could cut some of these functions of police – such as a disorderly 8-yr old at a school or responding to an anonymous noise complaint. But make no mistake, cops should be going to suicide calls and disorderly intoxication calls and neighborhood disputes.  I can’t tell you how many times neighborhood disputes got ugly really fast,” said Larry McKinnon, a 40-year career law enforcement officer who retired from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office two years ago where he most recently served as the agencies Public Information Officer.

Another former Hillsborough Sheriff’s deputy who asked to remain anonymous due to his current employment situation told me, “You can’t send an unarmed person to a mental health call, a suicide, or an intoxicated person complaint and not expect them to one day end up with a bullet between their eyes.”

Law enforcement is serious business, and the potential for violence and for things to go wrong is real.

After you finish scratching your head as to the logic of this change in policy, wondering how many people are going to get hurt, and the resulting lawsuits the city will face, ask yourself, “Why this is happening?”

If you are not sure, let me tell you: this is happening because most politicians are like Rick Kriseman. They are not leaders. They are followers. And they are weak. At this moment, Mayor Kriseman is responding to the squeakiest wheel in town and he is greasing it. He will continue to do this until bigger, more emboldened, and louder wheels roll into town and tells him to take his re-imagineering the police plan back to Fantasyland where it belongs.

And if common-sense minded residents of St. Petersburg don’t start to speak out and insist that all lives matter and that the police do a necessary job deserving of our support, the city as you know it will be gone before you figure out what “woke” means.

Chris Ingram is a Tampa communications, political, and media consultant. Follow him on Twitter at @IrreverentView or send him an e-mail to: chris@tampafp.com

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