Officer Kevyn Andrews received a Life Saving Award and Officer Jason Hicks earned an Award of Merit for their response to a medical emergency in September. At a town council meeting honoring them are, from left, Indian Shores council members Bill Smith and Mike Hackerson, Mayor Patrick Soranno, Capt. Glen Smith, Chief Rick Swann, Lindsay, Paul and Kevyn Andrews, Melissa and Jason Hicks, and Vice Mayor Diantha Schear.

INDIAN SHORES — A moment of silence for the recent passing of the town’s former engineer Robert H. Brotherton and Belleair’s mayor Gary H. Katica opened the Town Council meeting on March 9. Brotherton passed away on Feb. 18 and Katica on March 7.

Brotherton contracted his engineering services with the Town of Indian Shores after his retirement from the City of Dunedin. After serving just shy of 17 years as the town engineer, Brotherton retired in July 2020.

According to Mayor Patrick Soranno, “Bob was integral to many projects in town, and it would be nearly impossible to enumerate all of his contributions.” Highlights of some of those contributions include working to underground the town’s utilities, designing the community garden, volunteering on the Arts Council, assisting in working with the Florida Department of Transportation, handling all the town’s site plan reviews, and reporting his recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Board as well as the Town Council.

“Bob was a lifelong public servant,” said Soranno.

Officers earn awards

Indian Shores Police officers Kevyn Andrews and Jason Hicks answered a medical emergency call in Redington Shores on Sept. 7, 2020. The officers determined that the female patient was having a cardiac event.

“Officer Andrews began CPR while officer Hicks cleared a path for EMS personnel … The female patient was revived due to the professional and effective actions of all first responders on the scene,” said Chief Rick Swann.

Swann pointed out that the woman was a mother who, without the officers’ quick and selfless response to a crisis during a pandemic, might not have been able to live to see her child again. Both officers were commended for their actions.

Officer Kevyn Andrews received the agency’s Life Saving Award and Officer Jason Hicks was awarded the Award of Merit. In addition to senior law enforcement staff and the Town Council, the officers’ families were present for the commendations. Andrews’ wife, Lindsay, and baby son Paul were present as well as the officer’s father and mother, Capt. Paul J. and Michele Andrews. Officer Hicks’ wife, Melissa, was there in support of her husband.

Meanwhile, Swann said when he assumed authority over the department, a mountain of evidence was in need of records control and management. “Conducting a complete and accurate inventory of the evidence vault and purging 20-plus years of evidence and confiscated items has been a priority ever since Capt. (Glen) Smith and I took over this police department,” said the chief.

With a goal of transferring all remaining evidence to the custody of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the chief hired Vivian Caphart, a certified evidence control expert to work with Sgt. Tim Kennedy to oversee the process of ensuring that “everything in the ISPD Vault was inventoried and legally accounted for.”

By the beginning of 2021 the job was completed. Swann explained the overall accomplishments of the process. In excess of $13,000 of seized funds were transferred to the agency’s forfeiture fund pursuant to court order. Legal paperwork was secured to transfer 180 items of pending case evidence to the Sheriff’s Office for future custodial control. Lastly, the final items of evidence including confiscated drugs were legally destroyed pursuant to a lawful court order.

Kennedy was awarded the agency’s Award of Merit “for going above and beyond, and taking on this responsibility.” The chief further commended Kennedy for his dedication in creating and maintaining records to ensure there was a “method of properly packaging and storing evidence during his tenure.”

Electric bikes still a concern

A resolution in support of amending Florida statutes to define “vehicle” passed 4-1 with council member Mike Petruccelli voting against. The state’s current definition does not differentiate electric bicycles from manual bicycles, making the possibility of accidents on the beach more likely. The town asserts that it will “be forced to ban both bicycles and electric bicycles on the beach in order to regulate electric bicycles as vehicles on the beach under current State law…”

In conjunction with the resolution, a proposal to draft a letter to Sen. Jeff Brandes, Rep. Linda Chaney and Rep. Nick DiCeglie regarding the Coastal Protection Zone Act of 1985 with regards to electric bicycles on the beach was approved 4-1. “It infringes on people’s rights,” said Petruccelli, the lone dissenter.

The proponents said electric bikes that can accelerate to as high as 30 mph are not equipped to make quick stops on the beach. “It’s an unsafe situation,” said Sorrano.

“I would rather give up riding my bike on the beach to avoid a tragedy,” said the mayor.