The Tampa Bay Times scrutinizes the criminal justice record of St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, elected two years ago based in part on his tough-on-crime message. He vowed to give police more power to chase criminals. He pledged to put up security cameras in neighborhood “hot spots” known for drug dealing. But at the midway point of his administration, Foster’s more lenient chase policy has come under fire after a police chase Jan. 10 left one man dead and six others hurt.
At the same time, Foster refuses to explain why his plan to launch a network of surveillance cameras has been quietly eliminated. Foster shut down a public discussion about the chase policy during a recent council meeting by saying that a pending legal claim from the January crash prevented him from talking specifics. That proved to be wrong. He has also been criticized for a lack of candor. Council member Jeff Danner said, “We don’t get updates from the mayor..We’re just not getting the information we need.”