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Get it right: Sheriff's Office doesn't run juvenile center

Published July 10, 2003

I am a deputy sheriff with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and proud of my position.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, when making a statement or expressing your opinion, please make sure that your facts are correct. Letter writer D. Jermann made comments about the Pinellas County Juvenile Detention Center - that he doesn't understand how anyone could be killed in jail and not one guard saw or heard anything and that "the guard must either be involved or neglected their job." He then went on to say that "Pinellas County sheriff's deputies are exempt from any wrongdoing."

I would like to inform D. Jermann that his statements are incorrect. The Pinellas County Juvenile Detention Center is not run by or affiliated in any way with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. If he would like to express his concerns on how the detention center is run, he needs to address them to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, overseen by Secretary W.G. "Bill" Bankhead (appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush in January 1999). They employ the people who work at the detention center, not the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

-- Gina Engerer, Clearwater

Sheriff's Office serves communities well

Re: Death of youth in detention center points to abuse power, letter, July 8.

It is a terrible thing to have a juvenile die while in custody, I agree. However, jails and juvenile detention centers are filled to capacity and inmates far outnumber the staff. It is possible that the staff did not witness or hear what occurred during this incident.

The Juvenile Detention Center is run by the State of Florida through the Department of Juvenile Justice, not the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. The only involvement that the Sheriff's Office had was to investigate this incident since it happened in the county's jurisdiction. So, therefore, Internal Affairs would not have been involved in any investigation of wrongdoing.

The Sheriff's Office does an outstanding job serving the people of Pinellas County. Just ask the cities of South Pasadena, Belleair Bluffs, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, Seminole, Dunedin, just to name a few. These cities, along with a large percentage of unincorporated Pinellas County, appreciate the job the Sheriff's Office does.

It would be nice if disgruntled citizens would educate themselves before making inaccurate and embarrassing comments in these letters to the editor. Letter writer D. Jermann, you are certainly the exception to how people feel about the Sheriff's Office and not the rule.

-- Chris White, Palm Harbor

Parking's free; isn't that enough?

Re: Busting a beach's boom, story, July 6.

One of the people interviewed for the article expressed his disgust for increased restrictions at the beach along the Courtney Campbell Parkway and proceeded to point out that such restrictions would only serve to "run everybody to . . . either Gandy or Dunedin."

As a Clearwater resident and homeowner, I contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of that beach and endure the traffic and inane, incessant noise produced by those visitors from the counties to the east and north, but receive very little in the way of revenues from these day-trippers - there are no parking meters or access fees.

I have but one response to that individual:

May I buy you and your friends a map?

-- Dave Sobush, Clearwater

Vendors an option for beach well-being

Re: Courtney Campbell Parkway beach.

Perhaps the city of Clearwater should entertain putting out for bid permits for vendors - i.e., personal watercraft rental, food/soft drinks, chairs/umbrellas - same as on Clearwater Beach. This would bring in revenue and taxes to fund a beach patrol to enforce the laws. Institute a leash law for animals, same as in our parks, and enforce a no-alcohol policy, all with heavy fines for violators.

Thus, the law-abiding, responsible people get to enjoy this beautiful stretch of beach (and you eliminate watercraft trailers, fuel containers and open fires).

-- Joseph F. Coughlin, Safety Harbor

No need for costly full-color report

The Pinellas County Utilities Consumer Confidence Report I just received in the mail is an appalling waste of taxpayer money. Why did the county need to do a special mailing of a 32-page booklet printed in four colors with photographs and full-page artwork? The town of Belleair was able to give me the same water quality information on a one-page photocopy and included it with the water bill.

Whoever authorized this should be fired and forced to run a profit-making business. At a time when all levels of government are short of money, resources should not be wasted on pretty arts and crafts projects that accomplish nothing and that few people will read.

-- Mark Warda, Belleair

No cameras, no fun at Fourth celebration

Re: Clearwater's Fourth of July celebration.

Once again the city of Clearwater has found a way to mess up something else.

As I prepared to attend the fireworks display with my family of four at Coachman Park, I checked the city's Web site - - to check out the time of the event, parking and what was restricted (booze, pets, umbrellas and personal fireworks).

I also noted that I would have to painfully sit through the Mostly Pops Orchestra before the main event, the fireworks. Believe me, 90 percent of the people who showed up were only there for the fireworks display.

We walked more than a mile to get there in a light drizzle. When we made our way through the line to be searched (double stroller for 2- and 3-year-old), it was there they found my video camera. They said video cameras and audio devices were not allowed. The reason was that they did not want any reproductions of the concert.

I tried to explain that this was a free concert and I would not waste any film on the orchestra, only film my children and the fireworks. I offered to leave my camera battery at the front gate, But this also was not allowed. No cameras, period.

Lighten up, city of Clearwater. When you add the following together - Fourth of July, fireworks, children and a free concert - this equals "video camera." We ended up watching the fireworks from the side of the road.

-- Doug Monty, Clearwater

Cranes' photographer an inspiration

Many kudos are in order for Times staff writer Theresa Blackwell for her excellent article on the sandhill cranes in the East Lake section of the county. Having seen the cranes, I can only hope the little guy makes it to adulthood.

Her references to Frank Planes, a legally blind man who captures pictures of the cranes on his digital camera, are outstanding. It just shows what an individual with limited facilities can do with his life. We need more Frank Planeses in this world.

-- William A. Martin, Dunedin

Thanks to all who attended Rotary bash

On behalf of the Rotary Club of Dunedin, we would like to thank our citizens and visitors for attending the Honeymoon Island Beach Bash on July Fourth. Their participation supports the many community programs and projects the Rotary Club provides: need-based scholarships for college students, books for elementary students, support of the Dunedin High School Interact Club and providing unmet needs to children and their families. International projects are also supported by the Dunedin Rotary, such as the worldwide eradication of polio.

The year 2005 is Rotary's 100th birthday. To commemorate that event, the two Rotary clubs in Dunedin (Dunedin and Dunedin North) have committed up to $100,000 for a Dunedin project to support the community. The two clubs look forward to working together to make this dream become a reality.

Our fabulous partners for the Beach Bash were the city of Dunedin and the Florida Park Service DEP. Each had its important role and proved to be partners in the best sense of the word. Thanks, too, to the Times for its excellent coverage, which helped people know about this first-time event.

-- Sallie Parks, president, 2003-04 Rotary Club of Dunedin

Your voice counts

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Letters should be brief and must include the writer's name, city of residence, mailing address and phone number. Addresses and phone numbers will not be published.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be printed.

[Last modified July 10, 2003, 01:48:31]

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