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Calls on water restrictions pour in

Pinellas Park and Kenneth City police departments say they will enforce water restrictions, but their tactics may differ.

By ANNE LINDBERG

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 26, 2000


Although there has been no rain recently, police officials in Pinellas Park and Kenneth City experienced a deluge last week -- of phone calls.

Homeowners were eager to find out more about water rationing rules the county enacted last week.

"There were a lot of calls coming into dispatch," Pinellas Park police Chief David Milchan said Thursday. Milchan wrote a memo for dispatchers and officers so they'd be able to explain the rules to concerned property owners.

In both municipalities, callers wanted to know if their local governments would enforce the ban.

In both cases, the answer is yes, but the tactics may differ.

Kenneth City Chief James Ernst has told his officers that they should be somewhat lenient at first, to make sure that everyone knows the rules.

"Water conservation is everybody's responsibility," Ernst said. "The officers are not going to go out to do wholesale arrests on violators. They will give everyone the courtesy of a warning. . . . If it continues, citations will be issued."

Milchan is prepared to be strict. Warnings and citations will depend on the situation and the officer involved.

"I don't see any need to issue warnings, but we'll kind of leave that up to the code enforcement specialist," Milchan said. "I think people have been warned sufficiently. . . . It's been on television. It's been in the newspapers. . . . When it comes to giving out citations, I kind of leave that up to the people writing them."

Milchan's tougher stance is backed by the Pinellas Park council.

Council members spent part of their Tuesday workshop worrying about enforcement.

They wanted to make sure that residents adhered to the regulations and reported neighbors who might over-water their lawns.

If you have questions about the water restrictions or want to report a violator to Pinellas Park officials, call dispatch at 541-0758 or code enforcement at 541-0753.

In Kenneth City, call the Police Department at 544-2564.

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