Largo Police Department

LARGO — The Largo Police Department’s mental health team will be getting some backup.

City commissioners voted 6-0 on Oct. 4 to approve an agreement that will allow the department to use Pinellas County’s Sheriff’s Office resources.

As part of the contract, the city will pay the Sheriff’s Office $295,400 over three years. PCSO’s Mental Health Unit will provide a dedicated civilian crisis response specialist, who will co-respond to calls with LPD’s mental health officer, according to Lt. Paul Amodeo.

Amodeo said the Sheriff’s Office unit has 11 crisis response specialists. Two are licensed clinicians and the other nine are licensed social workers.

The department had previously contracted with Directions for Living to provide a civilian social worker to partner with an officer. According to LPD spokeswoman Megan Santo, the department still partners with Directions for Living for its homeless outreach program and the Telehealth Remote Access to Crisis Evaluation program.

Amodeo said the deal with PCSO will expand Largo’s resources by tapping into the Sheriff’s Office network of agencies and providers via the Pinellas Integrated Care program.

“So it is kind of a robust increase in the services we are able to provide, and the case management system would be a huge benefit,” he said.

He added that the agreement will help make sure agencies are not duplicating services to the same clients.

“The PCSO has already paired with CPD (Clearwater Police Department) and they have an electronic medical records system, which is a case management system, which would increase our efficiencies,” he said.

Commissioner Eric Gerard was complimentary of the deal. 

“I think this is a very positive move and I really appreciate that we are contracting with the MHU,” he said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing.”

As of Oct. 6, LPD’s mental health officer has responded to 303 total calls for service this year and 133 resources have been provided, according to Santo.

 

Ian relief

City commissioners on Oct. 4 also approved a resolution waiving certain permits and fees to assist property owners who have to clean up or repair damage from Hurricane Ian.

While Largo didn’t bear the brunt of the storm, it still did cause some minor damage.

Therefore, several permits have been temporarily reduced to $1 through November.

They include:  

• Fees for emergency, exterior repairs to single and two-family residences.

• Fees for the demolition of mobile homes.

• Tree removal permit fees for trees damaged on multi-family and commercial properties.

• The requirement to obtain a fence permit for the repair of a fence damaged on single- and two-family residential properties.

• The fee for a fence permit for the repair of a fence damaged on multi-family and commercial properties.

• The fee for a complete fence replacement of a fence damaged.

“I got a lot of feedback in the last 24 hours on this,” Mayor Woody Brown said. “I think it’s really good that we’re doing this for people.”