Nephew of the Week: Kolten Westfall

A big GaYBOR welcome to Kolten who just moved here from up north. In his photos he looks so serious. We all know how funny he really is!

You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

There are many fun memories we have of the Suncoast Resort. In front of our store facing the breezeway, above our main windows, were two speakers. Across the street was a very large commercial building sitting in its own park. On the north side, there were three houses. The owner of the second park was always calling the police because of loud music. We were always getting in trouble with the police for loud music. Then the police realized it was not us but the two huge main bars. On Sundays we would open our store at 10 a.m. and play cajun music. Then the bars took over at noon. One October morning we changed the music to polka. People started to dance the polka and were having a great time. Then the police pulled up. The officers walked up to the dancers.  We looked surprised and said “We know why you’re here. The music is too loud…right?” The officers started to laugh and said, “No it’s not too loud. They are complaining the music is so awfully bad…please make it STOP!”

The Tampa Citizen Police Academy: Week 4 of 9

It was another interesting and exciting week at the citizen police academy. Major Keith O’Conner started off this week’s class. He is in charge of the Tampa Special Ops. This includes 12 + special units, squads and teams. The four main ones are SWAT, hostage, bomb and marine divers.

Sergeant Richard Mills is in charge of the SWAT team. This is the very top 2% of the police force and is very hard to get into. All the members are volunteers who also work full time positions with the police dept.. These volunteers are on call an impressive 24/7. The SWAT team did mock armed robbery and car pursuit demonstration for us. It all ended up with officers setting off explosives and jumping off the top of a four-story building and rescuing the hostage. The heroic police work we saw this evening is common practice! Wow!

The Tampa bomb squad is one of the very best recognized in the country. They train with the dish_2FBI and special Army detachments. Each officer goes through a six-week class costing $120,000 each. The squad covers Tampa Bay and a six-county area and have 250-270 calls per year. We then watched a video rated “FOUO” (For Official Use Only). Wow, did we feel special. After the film it was out side to see four bomb explosions! Class members threw the switch to the set up explosives.

The rain started pouring as the Marine Unit pulled up with one of the full-time Tampa police department patrol boats. Because Tampa is surrounded by so much bay water and has so many water basins, these boats are put in strategic locations throughout Tampa Bay for quick responses. They work together with the US Coast Guard, Tampa Fire and the State of Florida.

Next week is “Use of Force”: street tactics; simulations; shoot, don’t shoot; and traffic stops.

(To read the full police academy column, go to


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