St. Petersburg officers allowed to wear new badges

St. Petersburg, Fla.- St. Petersburg police officers are accessorizing a new badge with their uniform.

The recent killing of law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Dallas prompted police agencies around the Bay area to reassess their safety measures. Going one step further, St. Petersburg officers are showing their support to the victims of those shootings in another way.

Officer Jackson is one officer showing his support for the victims by wearing a black band on his badge. He’s not the only one; other officers are wearing special badges with a black band and red and white strips.

The badges were originally bought in 2011 by David Gross Funeral Home and a local police association. Along with the special badges there are lapel pins for civilian employees. The badges and lapel pins will be worn until the last officer is buried.

St. Petersburg Police Chief, Anthony Holloway, has a “Park Walk and Talk” initiative that helps get officers into the community they serve. He believes the initiative will prevent distrust and violence. Officer Jackson is one of the officers that support Holloway’s thinking.

“If you get out of your car and actually talk to people, it’s a way to build relationships. I run into people all the time who recognize me, and we get a lot of information from ‘Park Walk and Talk,’” Officer Jackson said.

Law enforcement officials say the officer killings have sparked the need for police to be pro-active. Chief Holloway says the community needs to know that law enforcement is there to help them, not hurt them.

The chief also encourages people of the community that have problems with the department to come in and talk with them about it.

Friends and family of the three officers shot and killed in the latest event are still mourning their loss.