Mitch Perry Report 6.19.14: St. Pete's next police chief goes before the people

Posted by Mitch Perry on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 9:02 AM

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The greater St. Petersburg citizenry will get the chance to scrutinize the four finalists to become their new police chief tonight, as the candidates will field questions from the public at an event scheduled to take place at the St. Pete Coliseum between 5-7 p.m.

The four candidates are: St. Petersburg Police Assistant Chief Melanie Bevan; Goodyear, Arizona, Police Chief Jerry Geier; Captain Terry Pierce, Montgomery County Police, Rockville, Maryland; and New Haven, Connecticut Assistant Chief Thaddeus Reddish.

The popular choice among the locals is Bevan, who has the advantage of being known by many members of the community. The other three men are newcomers, which is why today (when they meet with the mayor) and tonight the pressure is on for them to impress.

Some observers don't think much of any of the candidates, like former police chief Goliath Davis. In an essay penned in the Weekly Challenger, Davis is still a bit peeved that Assistant Chief Luke Williams didn't make the final cut.

But he also says that among the four remaining candidates, he'd prefer it be one of the outsiders.

"Both Williams and Bevan contributed to the current state of affairs in the organization and the community and neither should benefit based on community campaigns and popularity contests," Davis writes." The position and the issues we face are too important to continue the power struggle."

But Davis doesn't have a vote. Neither does anyone else, with the exception of Mayor Kriseman. Which way will he go? It's not an exaggeration to say it's one of the most important moves he'll make in his tenure in office. Who stands out tonight will add another calculus to whom he ultimately chooses. As it stands today, the bold move would be to take one of the outsiders. But are they "better" than Bevan? Go tonight and make up your own mind.

In other news... a majority of the nearly 300 local vets who spoke with Congressman David Jolly and his staff on Tuesday say they're pleased with the care they've received at their local VA.

Two weeks after they virtually declawed him in public, a much more forgiving Hillsborough County Commission welcomed Tampa/Hillsborough EDC head Rick Homans into their chamber yesterday.

And while there are others who definitely have it worse, think about Julian Assange today for a moment, won't you? The WikiLeaks founder has been stuck inside the same house exactly two years as of today. That would be the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he dares not walk outside without fear of being arrested and, he fears, being brought back to the U.S. where his lawyers think he could end up getting a severe prison sentence à la Chelsea Manning.

And though the next elections for Tampa City Council don't take place until next spring, Yolie Capin kicked off her re-election campaign in style on Tuesday night at the soon-to-open Ulele restaurant in Tampa Heights.

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