Tampa Bay Informer - Clearwater Government News

Pinellas County Sheriff Jim CoatsWe recently unveiled a new and innovative Facial Recognition Partnership with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The partnership is the first of its kind in the state and in the nation.

Published in Clearwater

Pinellas County Sheriff Jim CoatsSummer is upon us, temperatures are soaring and what better way to keep children entertained and cool than an afternoon by the swimming pool. A dark side of a summer in the sun is that a sparkling swimming pool can also be a serious summer hazard. Unfortunately, when the temperature goes up, so does the number of accidental drownings involving children. The backyard pool is a magnet for children of all ages.

Published in Clearwater

Pinellas County Sheriff Jim CoatsI am often approached by citizens wishing to contribute their time and energy to the community. Allow me to suggest the Sheriff’s Citizens Patrol Volunteer Program as a wonderful way to help out.

As a member of the Citizens Patrol, you will have an opportunity to serve side by side with our deputy sheriffs and perform a variety of valuable services for our citizens and visitors to Pinellas County. Some of the responsibilities include seizing and recovering found property, assisting with disabled motor vehicles, directing traffic at crash scenes, issuing parking tickets, participating in community events, child fingerprinting and vacation house checks,to name a few.

Published in Clearwater
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 15:11

From the Desk of Sheriff Jim Coats - January 2008

Sheriff Jim CoatsClearwater, FL (January 2009) - Most people feel safe inside their own home and once inside, their personal belongings are often left unsecured or easily accessible. This is especially true when it comes to prescription medications. A recent trend suggests that medication has become a popular target for thieves.  I would like to take this opportunity to offer some suggestions on how to properly secure your prescription medications and to prevent the expense and inconvenience associated with this type of theft.

Over the past few years we have seen an increase in the theft of prescription medication from private homes.  In some cases the theft is part of a burglary in which the perpetrator targeted jewelry, cash, and small electronics.  After gathering valuables to steal, the burglar simply opened a medicine cabinet before leaving and then took whatever prescription medication that was in plain view.  In other cases, a theft was committed by trades people, invited guests, or even relatives who had access to medication that was in a medicine chest or left out in plain view.  Some thefts were not discovered for an extended period of time because individual pills had been stolen or because the medication was no longer being taken by the victim.

Published in Clearwater

_1200200 R.jpgWith the winter holiday season quickly approaching I am once again compelled to encourage everyone to prevent crime by eliminating opportunity.  There are many steps that you can take to protect yourself and your valuables from a holiday thief.

One of the most effective ways to protect yourself is to remain aware of your surroundings.  This means taking the extra time to park in well lit areas, and to look for suspicious people loitering nearby before getting out of your car.  If you see something or someone that makes you feel uncomfortable, move to another parking area and/or report your suspicions to security guards, or a law enforcement officer.  We would much rather investigate a suspicious person report than a violent crime.  Other suggestions include limiting the amount of cash and credit cards you carry while shopping, and when possible, avoid shopping alone.

The most effective way to protect your valuables is to properly secure them.  One of the most common points of entry for car burglars is through an unlocked door or an open window.  You would be surprised how many vehicle burglaries we investigate because owners simply did not lock their cars.  By locking your car doors, and closing windows completely, this is arguably one of the most preventable crimes.  For this reason, locking your car doors and windows is especially important during the holiday season when many people travel from one location to another while shopping.

It is also recommended that you place gifts, packages, and other valuables in the trunk of your car or at least move them out of plain view.  Purses, wallets, gift cards, portable electronics, and cash are all an open invitation for a criminal to break into your car.

By taking a few minutes to protect yourself and your belongings you may prevent a crime.  By doing so you are once again helping us in “Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas.”

If you would like other suggestions regarding holiday safety please contact the Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at (727) 582-5611.

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Published in Clearwater
Sunday, 19 October 2008 23:00

From the Desk of Sheriff Jim Coats

SherifJimCoats.pngToo many people, knowledge of what law enforcement agencies do is limited to what they might have seen in television dramas or news stories. For this reason, many people have only a limited understanding of how a professional law enforcement agency operates and what its employees do.

Deputies and other uniformed members of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office are the most visible part of the agency, but there are many employees whose efforts are not as visible, yet they are vital to our success. These jobs include a wide variety of accounting, clerical, communication,

Published in Clearwater