PORT RICHEY — The city has appointed an interim police chief to take over for Dave Brown, who retired after a near-unanimous no confidence vote last month by union officers with the Port Richey Police Department.
At a city council meeting Tuesday, City Manager Tom O'Neill introduced former Vero Beach Police Department veteran James Gabbard as interim chief. Gabbard was referred to O'Neill by the Florida Police Chiefs Association, O'Neill said.
Gabbard served as police chief in Vero Beach for 19 years and was later appointed Vero Beach city manager until he retired in 2010.
"I appreciate the opportunity to serve your citizens and serve the city council. I look forward to working with the very capable and able staff that you have in place now," Gabbard told the council.
Gabbard takes over amid controversy within the department. In addition to the no confidence vote against Brown, O'Neill also requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement look into allegations of "improprieties" in the police department's vehicle impound lot.
O'Neill has declined to discuss the nature of the allegations, and FDLE officials said Wednesday the complaint is still under review.