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Hillsborough fire rescue chief won't face domestic dispute charges

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Bill Nesmith won't face criminal charges stemming from a domestic dispute with his wife this month, but he will be suspended for violating county rules.

When Pinellas County sheriff's deputies investigated the domestic call at Nesmith's home in Indian Rocks Beach, they found a semiautomatic pistol in Nesmith's county-issued vehicle. County Administrator Pat Bean suspended Nesmith for two days without pay for violating a county policy prohibiting employees from possessing firearms on county property.

Nesmith, 59, has been on indefinite leave since March 3 following the investigation into a domestic assault complaint filed against him by his wife of four months, Beverly Nesmith, who accused him of threatening to shoot her and himself during an argument at their apartment.

Regarding the criminal case, Bruce Bartlett, Pinellas-Pasco chief assistant state attorney, said there was "no evidence to support a claim of aggravated assault" in the incident.

"He's got to have a deadly weapon with the ability to carry out a threat, but he didn't. There was no weapon on him or in the apartment, period," Bartlett said.

"From our standpoint, this is the end of it," Bartlett said.

Nesmith did not return a phone call for comment Thursday.

Nesmith's two-day suspension was a decision that came from "discussion and agreement between county administration, human resources and the county attorney's office in looking at the county policy and what had occurred," said county spokeswoman Lori Hudson.

Bean could not be reached for comment, but said in a statement, "I have complete confidence in Chief Nesmith's professionalism and we look forward to his return to work."

Nesmith, who is paid $139,277 annually, has worked for the county since 1994 after 24 years with Tampa Fire Rescue. He is scheduled to return to work on Tuesday, said Hudson.

"He's been, and from what I understand, is more than ready to come back," she said.

Amber Mobley can be reached

at amobley@sptimes.com or

(813) 269-5311.

Hillsborough fire rescue chief won't face domestic dispute charges 03/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:42pm]
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