Readers Divided on CPD Versus Sheriff Issue
By Carl Wagenfohr
CLEARWATER - The Clearwater City Council having apparently made a final decision to keep the Clearwater Police Department rather than consolidate city law enforcement into the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the June 24th online edition of the Gazette polled you, our readers, to determine your opinion on the issue.
The poll asked, "How would you manage Clearwater's law enforcement services in the face of the city's projected $7.5-million budget deficit," and offered two responses:
The poll attracted an unusually large number of votes, including electronic "ballot box stuffing" by a handful of online users, and a large number of votes cast from computers attached to CPD's own internal network.
All of the CPD-employee and duplicate votes favored keeping CPD, dominating the results and making it appear that 90-percent of our readers favored keeping the Clearwater Police Department.
Removal of those votes produced a 50/50 split among our readers, equal numbers favoring keeping CPD and contracting with the Sheriff.
According to city Public Communications Director Joelle Castelli, employees are permitted to use city-owned computers and networks for personal reasons as long as it does not become a productivity issue.
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