Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kenneth City police chief gets to keep his job

KENNETH CITY — After the smoke cleared from a nasty verbal brawl among Town Council members, police Chief Doug Pasley was left standing with his job for another three years.

The vote? There was none.

Council members decided last week to rely on a clause in Pasley's contract that provided for a three-year renewal if they did nothing.

Pasley's future had been in doubt since at least April, when a Pinellas County sheriff's investigation called his management into question. Sheriff Jim Coats had been called in by Mayor Teresa Zemaitis to look into residents' complaints about the Police Department.

Troy Campbell, the council member in charge of the department, followed that with a second sheriff's inspection of the agency.

Those reports raised concerns about officer safety and lack of follow-through on investigations as well as misuse of city property by at least one officer, who was looking at bodybuilding and dating sites on his department laptop while on duty. Sheriff's investigators also said guns and keys to police cars were unsecured and could be easily accessed because of a large hole in the wall and because the door to the room was open and not locked.

Council member Wanda Dudley said she saw those two reports as raw data that needed to be followed by an internal investigation. Dudley said she undertook the task and interviewed Pasley, police officers and others about the allegations.

While Dudley seemed to find much that was true, she dismissed other claims in the reports. When it came to officer safety, she said, all 12 of the department's officers told her they felt safe.

Dudley said she found it impossible to believe that a suspect could reach the car keys through a hole in the wall in the room where they were kept.

"You cannot escape through the hole in the door," Dudley said. "I could not fit through the hole."

Even if someone grabbed the keys, she said, it would be too complicated for them to figure out which key fit which car.

Dudley charged Campbell with trying to work around the chief and sought his guarantee that he would no longer do so.

"The department head should be working with the chief and not around the chief," she said.

Dudley's remarks were greeted by enthusiastic applause from the standing-room-only crowd.

Campbell demanded that she explain how he worked around the chief.

"I can't," she said.

Council member Joanne DeSimone attacked Zemaitis and Campbell. Of Campbell, she said, "I don't have faith in you as a department head."

Campbell responded, "I think it's very dangerous to go through and debunk" some of the concerns.

"Do I think there are some serious issues that need to be taken care of? Yes," Campbell said. He said he plans to fix those issues. But, he said, some other council members want to ignore the problems in favor of personal attacks against each other.

"You want to make it personal, holler at me, go ahead," Campbell said.

Reach Anne Lindberg at or (727) 893-8450.

Kenneth City police chief gets to keep his job 07/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 15, 2011 4:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary


    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]
  2. June 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter series.
  3. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy


    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  4. Philando Castile family reaches $3 million settlement in death


    MINNEAPOLIS — The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last year, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement in his death, according to an announcement Monday by her attorneys and the Minneapolis suburb that employed the officer.

    A handout dashboard camera image of Officer Jeronimo Yanez firing at Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., July 6, 2016. [Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension via The New York Times]
  5. From the food editor: Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders


    I decided my almond chicken obsession was becoming a bit much.

    Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.