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Police Home > Clearwater Police - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: When I call the police, what information should I have ready to give them?

A: The information needed will vary based on what is being reported. The following is a list of questions that could be asked when you call for police service. Not all questions would be applicable to every call. The Communications Operator is going to want to know:

    1. What is occurring or has occurred?
    2. The location of occurrence?
    3. Your name and phone number? (anonymous calls are accepted)
    4. Your location, if different from location of occurrence?
    5. The time of occurrence?
    6. Are there any injuries?
    7. Is anyone intoxicated?
    8. Are there weapons involved?
    9. How many people are involved?
    10. What is the descriptions of people involved? ( start from the top, i.e., gender, race, hair color, eye color, height, weight, scars/tattoos, clothing)
    11. What is the description of the vehicles involved? ( tag, color, make, model, year)
    12. What was the direction of travel for anyone leaving the scene on foot or in a or in a vehicle?
    13. Are there any witnesses? Are they still on the scene?
    14. Are there any animals at the house? Inside or outside?
    15. Is the location fenced? Are there any clotheslines or pools?
    16. Has anyone been outside?

(Questions 14 - 16 are necessary for the safety of approaching officers. Also, if police K-9's are used, this information will assist in effectively deploying the police dogs.)


Q: I am purchasing a home. What is the crime rate in the area?

A: The Police Department publishes monthly crime reports on the department's web site which represent criminal activity city-wide. The police department does not designate any neighborhoods as high or low crime areas. Crime rates vary year to year and location to location. A citizen may order a customized public records report from the Records Section which will list police activity for the time period specified, at a certain address or zone in the city. Specific call types may also be specified, as there are over 80 possible call types. There is a fee for these reports, in accordance with the public records laws of the State of Florida.


Q: How much does it cost to register my alarm system?

A: There is no charge to register your alarm, however all business and residential alarms in the City must be registered with the police department.


Q: What are the driving curfews for juveniles?

A: A person who holds a drivers license who is under 17 years of age, when operating a motor vehicle after 11:00pm and before 6:00am, must be accompanied by a driver, 21 years of age or older, who holds a valid license to operate the type of vehicle being operated unless the juvenile is driving directly to or from work.

A person who holds a drivers license who is 17 years of age, when operating a motor vehicle after 1:00am and before 5:00am, must be accompanied by a driver, 21 years of age or older, who holds a valid license to operate the type of vehicle being operated unless the juvenile is driving to or from work.


Q: What hours is construction permitted?

A: Building construction activities that create loud and raucous noise may not take place after 6:00pm or before 7:00am and no time on Sunday except in the case of urgent necessity in the interest of public health and safety, in accordance with City Ordinance 20.62.


Q: Will police respond to noise complaints?

A: If you are willing to sign a complaint against the person or persons that are creating the noise as defined in 3-1508 of the City Of Clearwater Community Development Code, an officer will be dispatched to address the complaint. In many cases, callers reporting noise complaints prefer to remain anonymous. In those cases the complaint will be dispatched to an officer to check in the course of his duties. If the officer determines that the noise is a violation under the ordinance, he/she will address the source of the noise. If the noise has stopped by the time an officer arrives, no police action can be taken.


Q: Will police respond to a call of a barking dog?

A: An officer will be dispatched on the same basis as that of a noise complaint (above) and provided the caller is willing to sign a complaint. If the dog is a nuisance on a regular basis, Pinellas County Animal Control should be contacted at (727) 582-2600.


Q: Will the Clearwater Police respond if I lock my keys in my car?

A: Unless there is an immediate danger to public safety (i.e., a child is locked inside), you will be asked to contact a towing company or a locksmith. If the vehicle is running and creating a hazard or if a child is locked in the car, the Fire Department will respond along with an officer if necessary. Clearwater Police officers do not respond to routine lock-outs; we will respond to animals locked in a car if the windows are closed and the situation could constitute animal cruelty.


Q: What should I do if a police officer stops me while I'm driving?

A: You should decrease your speed and use your signal to indicate which way you intend to pull over (always pull to the right if at all possible). You should try to pull out of the way of traffic and leave enough room so that the police vehicle behind you is also able to get out of traffic. If you are pulled over at night, try to stop in a well-lit area. Turn on your dome light and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Do not begin collecting your documents before being told to do so and do not exit your vehicle unless asked by the officer. Stay calm and provide the information requested by the officer relative to your driver's license, registration and insurance card. Answer questions without embellishment or storytelling. Please do not reach under the seat, into the glovebox, etc., without telling the officer what you are doing. Remember, the officer does not know who you are or what your intentions are.


Q: I have heard of people impersonating police officers. How can I be sure if someone is really a police officer?

A: There have been incidents of persons impersonating a police officer by using a dash mounted blue light. All patrol vehicles in the Clearwater Police Department are either marked with a light bar on the roof, or equipped with multiple lights mounted in headlights, grill and dash. If you are not sure that the vehicle attempting to stop you is actually a law enforcement vehicle, do not stop immediately. Signal the "officer" to follow you and then pull over at a well-lit business with other people around, like a gas station or convenience store.


Q: Where do I go to pay a traffic citation?

A: When issuing a citation, the officer will provide an envelope from the court with instructions on how to respond to the citation. Payment locations vary depending on the type of citation and where it was issued.

Civil infractions, ( moving and non moving violations) are payable in person or through the mail at the Clerk Of Courts, 14250 49th St. N., Clearwater, 33762.

Criminal traffic violations require a court appearance on the date set by the officer. Drivers issued criminal citations by officers north of Ulmerton Road will appear in the North County Traffic Court located at 29582 US 19 N., Clearwater.

Those drivers cited south of Ulmerton Road will need to appears in the South County Traffic Court, located at 1800 66th Street N. in St. Petersburg.

You also have the option of contesting the charge in traffic court. Those instructions are printed on the reverse side of your citation.

For additional information on traffic citations and traffic court, refer to the Clerk of the Circuit Court web site.


Q: What should I do if involved in a traffic crash?

A: When you are involved in a traffic crash you should stop and remain at the scene. If possible you should move you vehicle off the roadway. There is NO law in Florida that prohibits you from moving your vehicle out of the roadway after a crash; in fact the law REQUIRES you to do so, if possible. Have someone call the police at (727) 562-4242 or 911 if there are injuries, and report the crash. Due to the mix of municipalities and unincorporated areas in Pinellas County, you may be asked questions in order to determine in exactly what jurisdiction the crash occurred. Do not get into an argument with the other drivers involved.


Q: What should I do if I witness a crash?

A: If you witness a crash, if possible, stop on the side of the road and stay until the police can arrive. If you are not able to remain, you should call the police communications center at (727) 562-4242 or 911 if there are injuries, and advise the operator that you have witnessed the crash. The operator will forward your name and contact information to the investigating officer.


Q: I have been involved in an accident. Do I need to file a report?

A: If you have been in a crash involving injury, a drunk driver, a hit and run with suspect information, or if your vehicle is disabled requiring a tow, you should notify the policy agency having jurisdiction where the crash occurred for a report to be completed. If the cars are interfering with traffic flow and can be moved, then you must move them out of the roadway.

If you are involved in a crash with total damage of more than $500.00 (all vehicles or property) and there are no injuries, or criminal charges and vehicles are driveable, you are required to obtain a white crash form from any Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, or Sheriff's office. The form should be completed with the applicable information for all vehicles involved and mailed to Tallahassee (address on the form ) with a copy to your insurance company. (This form will soon be available on the Clearwater Police Department web site so that you may simply print out a copy and complete the number of forms needed.) If total damage is less than $500.00, it is not necessary to report the accident, however, you should exchange driver information among the parties involved in the accident.


Q: How long must I wait for a copy of my police report?

A: Copies are provided upon request and upon payment for copies. Depending on the nature of the police investigation and case management review, reports are available in as little as two days but can extend longer. Requests are fulfilled in the order they are received. Call the Records Section at (727) 562-4440 or write to Police Records, 645 Pierce St, Clearwater, FL, 33756. Fees are based on the Florida public records law.


Q: I observed a reckless driver. Can I report him?

A: We encourage you to report DUI and reckless drivers. To aid us in locating this violator we will need as much information as possible such as a description of the vehicle (and driver, if possible), a tag number, direction of travel, and time lapse. If you are calling on a cell phone while following this errant driver, try to stay on the line. This will allow the dispatchers to update responding units to the violator's location and direction of travel. Never compromise your own safety or violate the laws and rules of driving that apply to you as well as everyone else on the road.


Q: What should I do if I witness criminal activity or if I am a victim of a crime in Clearwater?

A: First, make sure you are safe, then contact the police. If possible, make written notes of what you have seen, including descriptions, times, and locations, while your memory is still fresh. If the situation is an emergency call 911. If it is not an emergency, call the Clearwater Police Department at (727) 562-4242. Follow the directions and answer the questions being asked by the police or emergency call taker. Remain calm. It may be necessary for the police officer to speak to you directly; be prepared to meet the officer or provide a contact phone number.


Q: Is there a curfew in Clearwater?

A: At the present time there is no curfew for juveniles in Clearwater.


Q: Where can I find information on the City of Clearwater's Code of ordinances?

A: You can find them at the Clearwater Public Library, City Hall, and on the web.


Q: Can I drink alcoholic beverages on Clearwater Beach?

A: The consumption of alcoholic beverages is not allowed on our beaches. Open alcohol is not permitted on any public property in the City of Clearwater.


Q: What can I do to crime-proof my home or business?

A: It is impossible to completely "crime proof" your home or business; however, it is possible to take steps that can make your property less vulnerable to burglary, such as using the proper locks, doors, windows, alarms etc. You can contact our Crime Prevention Unit at (727) 562-4141 to inquire about lectures on home security or to request a personal security check on your home. Both services are free.


Q: How can I start a Neighborhood Watch Program in my neighborhood?

A:If you live in Clearwater, contact Community Liaison Sgt. Chris Squitieri at Christopher.squitieri@myclearwater.com or call (727) 562-4255, ext. 5079.


Q: Who is the Clearwater Police Chief and how many police officers does Clearwater have?

A: Our present Chief of Police is Anthony Holloway. He has been Chief of our Department since February of 2010. He worked for Clearwater PD for 25 years before leaving to become the Chief of the Somerville, Massachusetts Police Department. He was there for two years before returning to Clearwater as it's Chief. The Clearwater Police Department began as a one man department in 1915 and now has more than 450 employees. Presently there are 248 sworn officers on the department.


Q: What is the difference between a police officer and a detective?

A: A detective is a plain-clothes police officer responsible for the follow-up investigation of crimes and incidents. A uniformed patrol officer responds to and handles the initial investigation of calls for police service. The detective continues the investigation started by the patrol officer but may also initiate specialized investigations directly assigned to the detective unit. In Clearwater, a patrol officer and a detective are of equal rank.


Q: How do I compliment or complain about a Clearwater Police Officer or other employee?

A: We prefer that you start with the officer/employee's immediate supervisor; in the case of a police officer, that would be a sergeant. You may find out who the supervisor is by asking the officer/employee or contacting the Communications Center at (727) 562-4242. Other methods include:

  • Use our online Clearwater Connect system.

  • Contact our Office of Professional Standards during business hours at (727) 562-4304.

  • Call our 24-hour Citizen's Hot Line at (727) 562-4080.

  • Email us at police@myclearwater.com.

  • Write to us at the Office of Professional Standards, Clearwater Police Department, 645 Pierce St., Clearwater, FL, 33756.


Q: How can I obtain a Clearwater Police Patch?

A: Write or call the Clearwater Police Department Special Operations Section at:

    Clearwater Police Department
    Special Operations Section
    645 Pierce St.
    Clearwater, FL 33756
    (727) 562-4152

Or send e-mail Elaine Lewis at elaine.lewis@myclearwater.com


Q: My tag was stolen. Can I place a paper tag on my vehicle until I get another one?

A: When your tag is stolen a police report is required. If you know where the tag was stolen the report should be filed with the agency in that jurisdiction. If you are uncertain where that tag was taken, notify the agency having jurisdiction where the tag is registered. The law does not allow for a home-made paper tag to replace the lost or stolen tag in the interim of obtaining a replacement. A vehicle without a tag cannot be driven on public streets nor can a tag from another vehicle be used. The vehicle should not be driven until the replacement tag is obtained and attached .


Q: How do I have someone evicted?

A: Evictions in Pinellas County are handled through the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. The Clearwater Police Department does not handle eviction orders. For information call the Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200. You can also obtain information on landlord/tenant actions at the Clerk of the Circuit Court web site.


Q: Why is there a police helicopter flying above my house or in my neighborhood?

A: The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office operates an aviation section located at St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport. Deputies often fly in areas of the county looking from above for illegal activity or situations requiring attention that otherwise might not be observed by an officer or deputy on the ground. The aviation section also assists other law enforcement agencies throughout the county in searching for suspects, missing persons, stolen cars, etc. The helicopter flying above your house or in your neighborhood may be doing any of the aforementioned activities. Generally if a crime has been committed in your area or someone is missing you will see patrol cars in the area as well. In any case, if in doubt lock your doors and stay inside. If you observe anything or anyone suspicious call the police department and advise them.


Q: Can I volunteer my services at the police department? If so, how do I go about it and who do I contact?

A: The Clearwater Police Department often utilizes services of citizen volunteers in various divisions. For further information click here.


Q: I understand that Clearwater Police Department is often in need of School Crossing Guards. Who do I contact to become one?

A: Being a school crossing guard is rewarding, part-time work that makes a positive contribution to the safety of our children. Contact the Community Relations Section at (727) 562-4155.


Q: What is the Communications Center and what is its function?

A: The Communications Center is responsible for answering both emergency and non emergency calls and dispatching police officers to those calls. Approximately 50 civilian employees work in shifts around the clock and each shift has a shift supervisor responsible for the supervision of the Communications Center. This Division is headed by a Police Captain who oversees the total operation. About 65% percent of calls for police service are generated through the Communications Division.


Q: How many calls does the Communications Center receive?

A: The Clearwater Police Department's Communication Center receives an average of 23,000 telephone calls per month, resulting in officers being dispatched to approximately 14,000 calls for service per month.


Q: How does 911 work?

A: All 911 calls made in Pinellas County are first received at the Pinellas County Central Dispatch Center. This center ascertains if the caller needs police, fire or medical assistance. If fire, rescue, or medical services are needed, their staff dispatches the appropriate apparatus. If police service is required, the call is transferred to the appropriate law enforcement agency. For this reason, if you need police and dial 911 you will first speak to a county 911 operator before you speak to a Clearwater Police operator. This occurs in all law enforcement agencies within Pinellas County and is sometimes confusing to the caller.


Q: How does 911 prioritize calls?

A: All calls requiring a police response are assigned a priority. Priorities range from "1" to "5", "1" being the highest and "5" the lowest. While we understand that all callers believe their call is important, in the interest of public safety, we must have a method for determining what call should be dispatched first. While you are speaking to a call taker he or she is entering your information into a computer. This information is transmitted to the appropriate dispatcher who will in turn dispatch police to the required location.

Priority 1 or 2 calls require a police response and are generally dispatched immediately. As information is being obtained from callers of an "in progress" or "high priority" incident that information is simultaneously disseminated to the responding officers by the dispatcher.

Priority 3 calls are lower priority calls and may be an hour or longer for a police response, depending on call activity in the City at the time.

Priority 4 or 5 calls are generally handled by our Police Service Technicians who will call the complainant back and take the report by phone. A police officer is not dispatched to these calls, and you will be informed of same. Calls of this type are taken in the order they are received and require the caller to be available at a telephone. Call back time is generally within the hour, depending on the call activity at the time. Reports fitting the criteria for telephone reporting are those that are not in progress, with no injuries, no suspects in the area, and no witnesses to be interviewed. Further, there must be no indication that a person is or will be in any immediate danger. Information for these type calls will be taken by the trained Police Service Technician and forward to CID (Criminal Investigation Division), to be assigned to an investigator, as any other case. Taking these type calls by telephone allows us to keep police officers available for higher priority public safety calls and is often more convenient to the caller as well.

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