Please see attached e-mail from Mr. Gutierrez and response from Lt. Brian Browne, for your information.
Today at approximately 10:30 a.m., I noticed Largo P.D. operating a speed/radar operation on 19 North between Ulmerton and West Bay Dr. There were three (3) police officers in this operation. Does the city really need to station three officers?
Are there not enough calls and why can't two of these officers cruise our neighborhood where burglaries occur? How about the higher crime areas? A show of force might prevent a crime.
It is poor management to deploy three officers on a shift just to catch speeders on a highway that resembles a freeway; unless of course this is done to produce revenue.
I look forward to a logical answer from our elected officials as well as the police department.
- Fernando Gutierrez
The officers you are referring to are actually part of a specialty unit of the police department. Members of the Traffic Safety Unit are tasked with handling specialized problems relating to traffic concerns throughout the City of Largo. You may or may not know that traffic complaints are consistently listed by citizens as their top issue when surveyed.
The Traffic Safety Officers are separate from patrol staffing numbers and they operate outside of normal patrol duties; emphasizing traffic safety and making roadways safer. The city is also tasked with FDOT regulations by which we are committed to sustained enforcement activities on certain roadways, which include US19 North.
During this calendar year we already handled a fatality crash related to speeding on US19 North, and while you are unhappy with seeing extra officers and believing that they are unproductive; the family members of the departed commend our activities, realizing that prevention is vital to safety.
I hope that this is the logical answer that you have requested. I also invite you to contact me if you should desire further information or wish to complete a, "ride-a-long", with an officer assigned to the Traffic Safety Unit, so that you can see how their enforcement activities save lives.
- Lieutenant Brian Browne, Traffic Safety Unit Commander