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Thursday, August 9, 2012

DO PINELLAS VOTERS FEEL ANY SAFER?

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

- With a tremendous backlog of outstanding warrants, taxpayers should be wondering.

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The mantra for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) is "Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas," but in lieu of some recent facts, you have to wonder.

There seems to be some confusion as to the number of outstanding arrest warrants in Pinellas County. Evidently, it is a subject the PCSO and the "Times" does not care to address. In researching warrants, I received a tip the County not only has a tremendous backlog, but very few are actually processed. For example, consider the number of warrants processed by the PCSO last month:
WARRANTS As of
7/5/2012
As of
8/8/2012
Difference
Felony14,82314,807-16
Traffic Felony49490
Misdemeanors32,25632,206-50
Misdemeanor Traffic4,7534,740-13
Juvenile12120
Local Ordinance4,6474,669+22
TOTAL56,54056,483-57

Actually, I would like to have someone from the PCSO verify these numbers, for if this is true, it should be of grave concern to the taxpayers. It is my understanding that not long ago there was a "No Warrants Squad" consisting of fourteen people charged with making such arrests, but was disbanded for some reason or other. Now, criminals are picked up only if law enforcement personnel happen to stop them by chance, such as for a traffic violation. No wonder the number of arrests last month are so low. Something doesn't add up.

WHERE IS DUSTIN SHAWN ZIRBES?

According to PCSO records, on July 3rd, Largo Police arrested Dustin Shawn Zirbes of Clearwater on one count of Grand Theft and three counts of Forged Bills, Checks, Drafts, Notes. He was processed throuugh the PCSO jail and was released on August 6th on his own recognizance (aka "ROR"), unsupervised. According to the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court, Zirbes has a rather lengthy rap sheet with thirteen felonies including domestic battery, robbery, sale of cocaine, grand theft, forgeries, not to mention serving time in Santa Rosa.

One can only wonder why such a person was released ROR unsupervised. Should he fail to appear at trial, a warrant will be issued for his arrest which will be added to the queue of warrants mentioned above. It is entirely conceivable he could walk away from all of this scot-free. Actually, Zirbes is not alone, there are many such cases in Pinellas County where people arrested on felonious charges and a lengthy rap sheet are being released on their own recognizance. This is indicative of a serious problem in the Pretrial System in this county, and something the "Times" conveniently overlooks.

When you take into consideration the large number of outstanding warrants in Pinellas County, the number of felons being released on their own recognizance, and that there are thirteen Internal Affairs investigations going on in the PCSO, the taxpayer should be wondering what is going on.

Everett Rice is challenging the current sheriff in the upcoming GOP primary. His critics claim police work has changed too much for Rice to assimilate. It's true technology changes at a rapid pace, but the principles of effective management does not. Micromanaging a department as large as the PCSO does not work. As Ronald Reagan said, "Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere." The problems being experienced in PCSO is of a management nature, not a technical one, something Rice is well versed in.

Vote in the Primary on Tuesday, August 14th. It's time for a change.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.