Tallahassee City Commissioners Discuss Crime, Other Issues At Annual Retreat

Jan 15, 2020

Tallahassee’s City Commissioners are planning for the new year. On their agenda, an overarching, five-year plan that focuses on economic development, poverty, infrastructure, public safety, public trust, and quality of life.

City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow says the rising cost of housing is worrisome. According to the site apartmentlist.com,  the median monthly rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is now $1,014.

Matlow also wants community-based solutions to problems like crime.

“A big priority here is pushing further on things like affordable housing and public investment and sidewalks and infrastructure. We talked about major issues, like crime and violence in our community,” he says. "We know law enforcement can’t solve the problems; how can we look at programs that treat violence as a community health issue, and talk to people on a personal level before violent behavior happens?”

Matlow is also raising concern about whether juvenile mugshots should be published online. During the retreat, he tweeted, “Juveniles accused of a crime shouldn’t be haunted their entire lives by a mugshot being circulated by law enforcement agencies or media outlets. It’s time for our government to adopt modern privacy practices to handle personal information responsibly.”

This happened after the Tallahassee Police Department released mugshots and names of juveniles involved in recent car break-ins. TPD says while people who commit felonies will have their mugshots posted regardless of age, Chief Revell and the city manager are looking at policies and determining the best way to go forward.

The retreat was held at the Tallahassee International Airport and livestreamed on Facebook. Citizens expressed their concerns in the comments section, addressing issues like crime, infrastructure and the gentrification of Frenchtown.

One commenter asked, “How are they talking about public infrastructure and transportation, and they’re hosting a meeting where there’s no public transportation?” referencing the lack of bus routes to the International Airport. Another praised the city’s goal to expand public early childhood education.

Mayor John Dailey closed the retreat by reflecting on 2019 and looking ahead.

“Last year was a bit of a disruptive year. We’ve had significant personnel changes, including three police chiefs in one year,” Dailey said. “But we’re headed in the right direction. 2020 is going to be a great year for Tallahassee.”

And Matlow says he’s pleased the commission approved new ethics rules last year.

“There was a big push for ethical reform. We passed the ethics package at the end of the year, I think [it] will help limit some of the ethical absences we’ve seen in the past.”