What Goes Around, Comes Around
By Paul Ingham
Officer Joe Young began his career with the Clearwater Police Dept (CPD) in 1988. His first assignment as a patrolman was Clearwater Beach. He again finds himself at the beach but now he is Lieutenant Joe Young in charge of District 1, extending from the east end of the Memorial Causeway Bridge, Island Estates, North and South Clearwater Beaches, and Sand Key to the Belleair Beach city line.
We met at his new office at the Beach Substation on Bayway Drive. He displays a picture of himself with a St. Petersburg police officer. Joe was 8-years-old in the picture, the officer was his dad.
Lt. Young proudly acknowledged, “I always knew I wanted to be a cop”. Like everything else he pursues, he made it happen.
Joe Young was born in Corbin, Kentucky. He adds, “It’s the home of KFC. My grandmother worked for the Colonel, my only claim to fame.”
He moved to St. Petersburg at 4-years-old. Joe graduated St. Petersburg Catholic High School and went on to obtain his Criminal Justice degree.
During 1986 and ’87 Joe was a fire fighter with Seminole Fire and Rescue before the opportunity to join CPD presented itself in 1988.
After his first year as a Clearwater Beach Patrolman he was reassigned to District 3 (East Clearwater) and a year later to District 2 (West Clearwater). He wanted the diversity of knowing all areas of the city.
1997 Joe was promoted to Sergeant on Clearwater Beach. In 2006 he attained the rank of Lieutenant.
Lt. Young was placed in charge of CPD Special Operations.
Since 1990 he concurrently was a member of the SWAT Team and worked his way up to Team Commander. The Lt. remembers incidents on the SWAT Team that were some of the most harrowing of his career.
One situation was when the CPD Swat Team was called out for an armed suicidal subject. He recalls, “The subject was depressed, on medications and threatening suicide. We surrounded the house and started negotiations. We were initially told that he had some type of handgun. I and two other officers took up a position hiding behind a car that was parked in front of the house. We were hoping that if he came outside, we could rush him and take him into custody. As we waited, we got information that he had a high powered rifle. Well, knowing that the bullet would travel through the car, through each one of us, and keep on going, we decided to get out of there! Unfortunately, the subject stepped out into the back yard carrying the rifle. He started to approach the gate to his fence. We had another team stacked outside the fence to cover the back yard. An officer was covering this team when the subject approached the gate carrying the rifle. The officer, fearing for the team members that were about to be confronted by a guy with a high powered rifle, shot the subject four times with our 9mm Colt submachine gun. Subject was DRT (dead right there).”
“The second incident occurred when the City of Arlington, Texas, requested CPD assistance in apprehending a wanted fugitive that had been involved in a shootout with them. The fugitive had been committing armed robberies in Texas. He had been shot in the leg and was believed to be staying at his mother's residence on S. Madison Ave. CPD SWAT was called out and we surrounded the house early in the morning hours. We had info that the subject was inside the residence sleeping on the floor just inside the front door. I was the Team Leader and had a key to the deadbolt lock on the front door. I led the team up and as quietly as possible put the key in the lock. (To me it sounded like a tank coming down the roadway!) Nobody inside apparently heard it as loud as I did. The plan was for me to open the door and a distraction device (flashbang) was tossed into the house. As soon as it went off, I was first in the door with my submachine gun. I observed a black male hop up immediately, I could see a bandage on his leg. He started moving towards the couch looking like he was reaching for something. I was tracking him with my sights fearing that I was going to have to shoot him. As my finger went to the trigger, our shield man came blasting by and crushed the subject down to the ground. They hit a glass table and the subject started fighting and screaming. (This all happened in about three heart beats!) At any rate, his other leg was broken in the fight and we took him into custody.”
This year Lt. Young returned to District 1 after the retirement of Lt. Jim Steffens and just in time for Spring Break. The Lt. points out that there was a significant increase in traffic and visitors this year yet there were no significant incidents as serious car accidents, burglaries, or crimes of violence. One of his major directives was alcohol enforcement details to curtail excessive drinking that often turns into problems.
He adds that there have been no crime “patterns”, only isolated incidents, in District 1 since he has been in charge.
Lt. Young encourages the public to report issues and he will be timely taking appropriate action. He wants the public to contribute to fixing problems by coming forward with suggested solutions, not just complaints. He is blunt to point out that 90% of the issues find the perpetrators to be residents not visitors. He continues “Each of our communities have different priorities. We have officers assigned to each community to address these priorities”.
Lt. Young advises the top three actions residents and visitors should take to protect themselves and their property.
When not “on duty” he enjoys his two children, Jacqueline and Jarrod. Jacqueline is also a St. Petersburg Catholic High graduate where she excelled on their swim team. She is currently at college in Tallahassee studying Speech Therapy. Jarrod is a sophomore at St. Petersburg Catholic High and also a swim team competitor.
Lt. Young attends church the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle. He is an avid reader, runner, weightlifter, and SCUBA diver. He is currently in training for his first 26.2 mile marathon run at the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, VA this October.
The Sand Key Civic Association (SKCA) has Lt. Young on the agenda for their monthly meetings. If you have not had the opportunity to meet and welcome him to our community then that will be an opportune time.
Return to Current Edition