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Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Clearwater Beach
DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Pinellas County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday not to close beaches for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

jail bars
iStock

Officials at the Pinellas County Jail are dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19.

According to a statement from the Sheriff's Office, 13 staff members and five inmates have tested positive within the last few days.

Pinellas County Sheriff Gualtieri pictured standing at a podium surrounded by law enforcement officers.
WUSF Public Media

Despite court guidelines to release people accused of unlawful assembly, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri requested that more than 35 protesters arrested on that charge last week be held in jail until they could be seen by a judge.

police officer stands a podium between American and Florida flags
St. Petersburg Police Department Facebook Page

A number of Pinellas County law enforcement agencies announced Monday policies that clarify officers’ responsibilities on potential misconduct by colleagues.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, as well as both the St. Petersburg and Clearwater police departments, issued updates that require officers to intervene immediately upon witnessing misconduct by fellow officers.

CLEARWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT

Beach goers can return to the sand in Pinellas County this morning, but don't expect it to get too crowded.

A white sign says "business is open"
Delaney Brown / WUSF Public Media

In two unanimous votes, the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners decided Friday to extend the local state of emergency while allowing some businesses to resume in accordance with Governor Ron DeSantis’s plan to reopen the state.

MARIA TSYRULEVA/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Folks who have been hoping Pinellas County officials will move forward with a plan to reopen the county’s beaches now have a powerful ally.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

An aerial picture of Clearwater Beach.
Pinellas County Marketing and Communications

Pinellas County Commissioners did not vote Thursday on easing restrictions to local beaches, but it’s still under consideration.

sheriff stands in front of microphones, showing photos to unseen audience
Courtesy: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Boat ramps and marinas in Pinellas County are going to remain open to the public despite other COVID-19 restrictions.

In a press conference Friday, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said he sees "no problem" with it – but he’s reminding people they need to behave.

business closing notice
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Pinellas County businesses are being warned to follow recommendations designed to reduce the spread of coronavirus or they will be forced to close.

Pinellas County Sheriff Gaultieri and Clearwater Beach Chief Dan Slaughter hold a news conference on Clearwater Beach
Pinellas County Sheirff's Office Facebook

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was critical on Saturday of the national media’s coverage of  local spring breakers, which he said led to the closure of all county beaches this week.

video still of beachgoers
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

The Pinellas County Commission voted unanimously to close public beaches and parking areas effective 11:59 p.m. Friday and lasting until April 6th.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri stands in front of a podium next to a sign language interpretor.
Screenshot from Pinellas County YouTube page livestream.

Pinellas County officials are limiting restaurant alcohol sales, a day after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced his city will stop them at 9 p.m.

However, they are keeping beaches open for the time being.

Woman speaks at podium with military members behind her
Delaney Brown / WUSF Public Media

Florida’s law enforcement agencies will be represented by two local officials who have been appointed to a Presidential commission. 

Attorney General William Barr announced the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice Wednesday, which looks to modernize solutions for reducing modern crime in America.

In the more than 20 months since the deadly shooting in Parkland, the state has passed a number of laws to address school safety, including the controversial measure allowing teachers to be armed. 

Pinellas County Sheriff  Bob Gualtieri
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

A private security company that was paid thousands of dollars to train school “guardians” in Palm Beach County signed off on armed school security that did not meet statutory training requirements, according to the chairman of the state’s school safety panel.

Pinellas County Sheriff  Bob Gualtieri
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

A state school-safety commission meeting got heated Wednesday as members tackled a range of issues stemming from a controversial school “guardian” program, while one panelist recommended allowing Florida preschools to have armed security.

Two months after the state reported nearly 200 schools did not have an armed resource officer as required by state law, members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission were frustrated to learn that more than two dozen Broward County charter schools lacked a long-term plan for the security guards.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri
SAM TURKEN / WLRN

South Florida is heading back to school. Palm Beach County students started classes on Monday. Broward and Monroe Counties start Wednesday, and students in Miami-Dade go back Aug. 19.

Safety and security are still on the minds of teachers, parents, students and state officials at this start to the second school year since the Parkland shooting. Several school districts in the state — most of which are in South Florida — were found over the summer to still not be in compliance with state safety laws.

Pinellas County Sheriff  Bob Gualtieri
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

News Service of Florida

HAVANA -- Three minutes and 51 seconds.

That’s how long it took Nikolas Cruz to kill 17 students and staff members and injure another 17 during last year’s shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

With new technology like smart devices and facial recognition, lawmakers are weighing ways to balance privacy rights with law enforcement investigations.

Members of The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission voted unanimously Wednesday morning to send their first report to the state authorities in Tallahassee, in hopes that it increases the pace of reforms recommended to prevent another school shooting in Florida. 

The commission that's directing the Florida Legislature's response to the Parkland shooting will recommend that public school teachers be allowed to be armed.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission voted 13-1 on Wednesday evening to suggest that lawmakers expand a state law that now allows some school staff to carry guns but excludes people who are primarily classroom teachers.

Parkland High School Shooting Generating Change In Florida

Nov 30, 2018

Past gun violence produced few lasting changes in Florida, but the Parkland mass shooting has prompted swift new laws and a high-profile committee that is generating action.

As the nation’s eyes were on Broward County, Florida, for a flawed, week long election recount, a state commission a few miles away was investigating the county government’s role in the Feb. 14 massacre at a Parkland high school. It found that failed leadership, inconsistent or unenforced policies, and misinformation contributed to the 17 deaths.

YouTube

The sheriff leading the state commission investigating Florida's high school massacre says he now believes trained, volunteer teachers should have access to guns so they can stop shooters who get past other safeguards.

Two Broward County leaders who have been criticized for their handling of the Feb. 14 shooting at a Parkland high school displayed a stark contrast in attitude as they were questioned on Thursday by a state investigative commission that includes parents of slain students.

The then-sheriff's deputy on campus during the Florida high school massacre is scheduled to testify Thursday before a state commission investigating the shooting, a day after members called him "not a real cop" and "a coward."

A poorly organized 911 system hampered the police response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

That’s one finding discussed on Tuesday by the public safety commission investigating the shooting.

Students Say They Reported Threats Before School Massacre

Nov 14, 2018

Two students told investigators they reported the Florida high school shooting suspect to an administrator for making threats but felt they were not taken seriously, a commission investigating the massacre was told Tuesday.

The state commission that’s investigating the Parkland school shooting discussed on Wednesday ways to improve school safety, agreeing that middle and high school campuses should always have at least one police officer present.

Elementary schools, however, could have an armed guardian instead of an officer or sheriff’s deputy, the panel decided. 

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