Boating police begin patrolling Bay area waters with less staff due to budget cuts

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - Keeping a watchful eye on Saint John's Pass is Sgt. Brad Millicin's job. 

He has seen a lot during his time on the water, such as "A speed boat that was going too fast and actually flipped the boat," Millicin said.

Now that summer is under way, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is working to protect boaters in Tampa Bay.

With budget cuts, Millicin says the Marine Unit was cut from 14 people to six.

"It makes a big difference because we don't have enough people to cover the area," he said.

The team has 15 boats and now they rely on others to help patrol the waters.

"It's a big task, that's why we depend on the Florida Wildlife Commission, Coast Guard, and these other agencies to help us out," he said.

Millicin said community police support and school resource officers also fill the void by working busy holiday weekends.

On Sunday, he watched out for kids wearing life jackets. These kids are being rewarded for staying safe, with a shirt from the Sheriff's Office.

But more than giving out shirts, Millicin is checking for everything, including code violations, people riding without registration and those not wearing safety equipment.

He says that despite having fewer resources, they are still getting the job done.

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