Officers work around communications outage

By Times Staff Writer
Published March 5, 2008


Tampa police resorted to emergency communications conditions Tuesday, after a contractor cut a Verizon cable that affected officers' ability to talk to dispatch for more than six hours.

Radios were out from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

Patrol officers in all districts were required to pair up for their safety.

Though most officers could hear dispatchers speaking to them, police had to respond to dispatchers with text, using the laptops in their cruisers, McElroy said.


Students' hot dogs may taste of budget woes

Pasco County schoolchildren may soon feel the school budget crunch in the lunchroom.

Even hot dogs are under scrutiny.

Food and nutrition director Rick Kurtz on Tuesday told the Pasco School Board of plans to switch from hot dogs to turkey franks to save $25,000 through the rest of the year.

"We're going to test them at an undisclosed school (today)," Kurtz said.

School superintendent Heather Fiorentino warned the board of reduced or stagnant funding. "It is going to be bad," she said.


City dispatch services to transfer to county

Hoping to forge a better relationship with Hernando County and trim expenses, the City Council has unanimously approved transferring police and fire dispatch services to the Sheriff's Office.

Monday night's vote will save $204,000, officials said, while providing more efficient responses and reducing confusion among the first responders.

The agreement follows a recent mutual aid pact between the Brooksville Fire Department and Hernando County Fire Rescue,