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Extra patrols will target speeders

By LOGAN D. MABE

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2000


NORTHDALE -- Speeding through Northdale will soon be a lot more expensive.

The Northdale Special Tax District has decided to hire off-duty sheriff's deputies to patrol the neighborhood, targeting drivers who zoom along Northdale Boulevard.

The board voted to fund 24 randomly scheduled four-hour patrols each month at a cost of $2,200. The deputies will also be on the lookout for vandalism and other petty crimes.

Northdale property manager Diane Montgomery said the deputies could be on the job as soon as next week. The patrols, while random, will revolve around high-volume traffic times when speeding along curvy, 35-mph Northdale Boulevard is rampant.

The deputies also will be issued a cellular telephone, and residents can call them directly if they see crime in the neighborhood.

"I'm very much in favor of having a security patrol," said board member Manuel Garcia. "I'm saddened that society has come to this. But there are walls in here you could paint bull's-eyes on because they've been hit so many times by speeders."

In addition to beautifying the neighborhood, board president Kevin Ambler said the district's charter included provisions for providing security in Northdale.

"We are in a fortunate position because the board has been fiscally conservative and we now have a surplus," Ambler said. "We have over $100,000 in reserve for this."

Board member George Helmstetter opposed the measure.

"The Hillsborough County sheriff's department is responsible for patrolling our streets out here," Helmstetter said. "And we pay a good sum of money for them to do just that."

The motion passed 8-1 with Helmstetter dissenting.

"I think it's going to make the community feel better," Montgomery said.

-- To reach Logan D. Mabe, call 226-3464 or e-mail him at mabe@sptimes.com.

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