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Department History

Arlene Conage-Pough - SPPD's First Black and Female Emergency Communications Division Manager.

Hometown Hero, Arlene Conage-Pough, was born in 1960 at Mound Park Hospital (Bayfront), the only hospital that would take care of Black citizens at the time. She had three brothers and two sisters with parents who nurtured each child's gift, and taught love and respect with a grand sense of community.

Arlene went through school during a racially contentious time and graduated early from a newly desegregated Dixie Hollins High in 1978. She then received her associate degree in general ed at SPC. She also took data entry classes at, what is now, P-Tech.

Arlene was offered jobs from Honeywell, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and the St. Petersburg Police Department. She chose SPPD since she lived close and didn't have a car.

She began her career in the Emergency Communications Center on February 2, 1981.

Fresh out of training, and very excited about wearing the official uniform, she answered her very first 911 call that was a wife who had just killed her husband. Arlene's professionalism and natural empathy kicked in right away to calm the woman down and have her put the gun away for officer safety reasons.

Arlene became a dispatcher then was promoted to supervisor. She found her niche when she was "volun-told" to be the Training Supervisor. She trained all the incoming call takers and encouraged a family atmosphere, teamwork and excellence. Arlene was known for her hard work ethic, fairness, and management skills.

She lifted employees up to their potential even noticing the talents and good work of SPPD's longtime Emergency Comm Center Manager, Jacqi Yeager.

Twice, Arlene was placed as the interim division manager. She finally complied with the Chief to take the position permanently in 1995.

As she and her husband raised their three kids, she earned a bachelor's in management studies with high honors from Eckerd College.

Around the same time, St. Petersburg erupted with civil disturbances in 1996. Even though the Comm Center was a hugely diverse division with employees who had differing opinions about what was going on outside, Arlene maintained a respectful and cohesive working environment for everyone. In an honest and caring tone of voice, Arlene said, “I kept my (work) family together all through that challenging time."

Arlene resigned circa 2001 and carried her talents and communication/management skills to the Pinellas County Schools and Sheriff's Office.

Our police department and City is so proud to have had Arlene as a leader, our first Black and female ECC Manager, and a family member.

The secret to Arlene's success? Care about people, follow the mechanics, have a network of church, family and friends…
AND Don't bend. Don't fold. Don't quit!

Arlene Conage

Emergency Communications Division Manager Arlene Conage-Pough

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