Police Department History

What is now Pinellas Park, Florida was a town established by Mr. P.J. Mc Devitt in 1909. He had been sent to Florida to establish a town near St. Petersburg for the purpose of growing sugar cane. This area being, in west central Florida, was selected for its mild winters, warm summers, and cool evening showers during the rainy season. In 1913 the town had a population of 250 and was policed by a Town Marshall.
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In 1915 the police department was formally organized and the Town Marshall was appointed as the first Chief of Police, who was also the only officer in the department.2

By the 1930's there were two employees who alternately shared the $15.00 per week salary. For this they performed numerous non-police jobs in addition to their police duties.

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In 1948 the department was reorganized and inaugurated during the July 4th celebration. There were now six officers including the chief. In 1958 there were eleven employees including the first female to work for the police department. In 1965 there were twenty officers including two full time detectives. Police work is considered a specialized science and now only provides police services.

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Today, the Pinellas Park Police Department is a growing medium sized department, having over 150 employees and known for its personal service to the 49,000 plus seasonal and full time residents. The current Chief of Police, Dorene Thomas, was the first full time female Chief of Police in Pinellas County. Her appointment in 2000 was the beginning of a new era for this police department as she has led the way for the many positive changes this department has experienced.

In June 2009, Chief Thomas was elected as the President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, another first for the State of Florida and the FPC association.

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