On September 5, 2018 Tanja Vidovic was issued a trespass warning and banned from Philippe Park. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office filed a police report. Lisa Baltus is the North County Land Manager in the Pinellas County Parks Department. She reported Tanja "has continued to follow the contractor around the park for the past several days and refuses to let them do their job." Lisa Baltus also reported Tanja Vidovic had been "using profanities towards her and the contractor, which have been observed by other patrons of the park."
The police report states that Tanja Vidovic recorded the event and streamed it using Facebook Live. It also states "she encouraged her followers to call the parks department and the Sheriff's Office to demand her trespass be removed. I was advised by the county representatives that they had received several unwarrantedcalls on their personal cell phones from subjects who were upset about the situation and vulgar towards them."
The trespass warning and ban were removed on September 7, 2020 at approximately 11:00. Paul Cozzie, the Director of the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources, asked for the ban be removed. The ban was subsequently removed. There are no details in the report as to why Paul Cozzie decided to remove the ban.
Scott Coulter of the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources wrote a memo describing the incident in Philippe Park. He was one of the county workers onsite for the incident. The memo describes his experience.
I was called by the crew chief of our exotic spray vegetation contractor Southeastern Chemtreat (SE Chem) on September 9, 2018 at 9:05 am. He asked how far way I was and could I come out to the park. I could her a female voice in the background. He then called back two minutes later and said the person wanted to talk to me so I gave him my desk phone. Tanja Vidovic then called my desk. I explained to her what they are doing but she had her own opinions about what they were doing and chemicals being used. If you need more details about this phone conversation let me know but basically nothing I said was going to make her happy.
I got a text from the owner of SE Chem (who saw part of this confrontation) before heading to Philippe stating she was filming them and still berating them and could I contact the police. I talked to both our LIMA deputies and they called for a patrol deputy. I called the owner back to make sure they really needed a deputy and he said yes as she was still there. I told them to go to the shop but he said there was no point because she said she was going to follow them.
SE Chem started work at Philippe on Aug 29. Sometime that week the crew chief came out of the woods toward the truck and she was yelling at one of his crew. He went over and she cursed at them and said (among other things) they were killing natives, they should be wearing respirators, they could not be out here, they were going to get cancer, and they needed better education. Her husband and children were with her but he did not say anything and stayed back away and then actually left the area with the kids on their bikes.
Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources called the police to report a disorderly subject. The police responded and issued a trespass warning to Tanja Vidovic. The police report text is below that describes the incident.
On September 05, 2018, at approximately 0935 hours, Deputy Dressback and myself responded to Philippe Park, located at 2525 Philippe Parkway, Safety Harbor, after receiving a phone call from the PCSO Environmental Lands Unit (ELU) in reference to a complaint they received from the Pinellas County Parks Department of a disorderly subject.
Deputy Dressback spoke briefly with Deputy R. Hart (ELU), who advised him that he had received information that there was an unknown white female located within Philippe Park allegedly acting disorderly towards a third party contractor on sight spraying a chemical agent on the vegetation. According to the Pinellas County Parks Department, the female was causing a disruption towards the contractor and not allowing them to finish their job.
Upon arrival, Deputy Dressback and myself made contact with the listed contractor, Will Hardee, the owner of Southeastern Chemtreat Inc, who was on sight with several of his employees. Will stated they have been hired by Pinellas County Parks Department to spray a chemical agent to kill invasive plants throughout several county parks within Pinellas County. Will stated while his crew has been spraying within Philippe Park for the past week, he has observed the same unknown female approach their trucks and yell profanities at them on several occasions. Will stated the subject has continuously disrupted their business by yelling and video recording his employees. Will said the actions of the female subject have caused his employees to not work properly. Will explained the female told them they were killing natural plants and that they were not using proper safety equipment. Will advised me he attempted to speak with the woman several times, to which she would only argue with him and continue to yell while disrupting their work. Will then notified the Pinellas County Parks Department upon all his contacts with the woman.
I later spoke with Pinellas County Parks Department, North County Lands Manager Lisa Baltus, who was overseeing the project. Lisa explained to me that she has been in contact with the listed subject several times and has explained to her what the contractor is doing and that they are only killing invasive plants. Lisa advised the county does this every year within its parks. Lisa stated the listed subject has continued to follow the contractor around the park for the past several days and refuses to let them do their job. The listed company has been doing service in the parks of Pinellas County for the past several years and has obtained a valid county permit. Lisa advised me the subject has been using profanities towards her and the contractor, which have been observed by other patrons of the park. Lisa stated she has been advised by Scott Coutler, who is the Preservation Manager for all north county parks, to have the female subject trespassed form Philippe Park due to her actions causing a disturbance and not allowing the paid contractor to complete their job.
I explained to Lisa the Sheriff's Office has responded to this location to keep the peace and that if the county requested to have the subject trespassed, she would have to advise her in our presence in order to have the warning issued. It should be noted, while speaking with the listed contractor and the county park representative, I observed the listed female subject sitting on a picnic bench, video recording us from her cell phone.
Prior to making contact with the subject, Deputy Dressback and myself activated our in-car video and audio COBAN system for documenting our encounter with the subject.
Upon making contact with the subject, she advised us she was recording our conversations on her cell phone. I stood by while Lisa explained to the subject what it was the county was doing and that her actions over the course of the past week have been hindering them from doing their job. The subject argued with Lisa and demanded to know what chemical was being used and stated they were doing it improperly. Lisa explained to the subject that, due to her actions and refusing to leave the contractor to do their job, she was being asked to leave the park and would be issued a trespass warning.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office currently has trespass authorization on file from Director of the Pinellas County Parks Conservations Resources, which has been dated and in effect since March of 2015.
I followed up with the subject, who was identified at this point by her Florida driver's license as Tanja Vidovic, that she was being issued a trespass warning and needed to leave the park. I explained to Tanja that she was not allowed to re-enter the park or she would be subject to arrest for trespass after warning, which she acknowledged. It should be noted, I advised Tanja that if she wanted to file a complaint with the county over this, she should have taken her claim to the county rather than to do it in person with the third party contractor.
I provided Tanja with my business card along with this case number at her request. I stood by while Tanja exited the park without incident.
I provided my business card along with this case number to the listed contractor and the Pinellas County Parks Department representatives.
It should also be noted, I later received multiple calls from the Pinellas County Parks Department stating that Tanja had recorded the incident on her cell phone using "Facebook Live," where she encouraged her followers to call the parks department and the Sheriff's Office to demand her trespass be removed. I was advised by the county representatives that they had received several unwarranted calls on their personal cell phones from subjects who were upset about the situation and vulgar towards them.
I conducted an NCIC/FCIC check on Tanja, which resulted negative for any wants or warrants.
No further action taken.
Disposition: Case Closed; Solved Non-criminal
Source: Police Report SO18-283070.pdf
The law enforcement officers who issued the trespass warning activated their dashboard camera prior to making contact with Tanja Vidovic. The video can be viewed here.
On 09/07/2018, at approximately 1100 hours, I [Sergeant Chad McIntyre of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office] spoke with Paul Cozzie, who is the Director of the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources. He asked that the trespass warning that was issued to Tanja Vidovic on 09/05/2018 be removed at this time. So at this time, the trespass warning issued on that date is no longer valid.
Source: Police Report SO18-283070/1.pdf
On 09-17-18 at approximately 1400 hours, I [Lieutenant William Byrd of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office] had a phone conversation with Ms. Tanja Vidovic regarding the deputy's summary of events in this report. Ms. Vidovic reported that during the course of her actions, she did not harass, follow, or use any profanities towards any involved persons. At some point in time since then, she has read the original report in which two other people noted this did occur. Ms. Vidovic disputes this, and she is very clear this did not occur.
Ms. Vidovic requests that her statements be added to this incident report for further reference.
This concluded my activity in this incident.
Source: Police Report SO18-283070/2.pdf