PORT RICHEY — Embattled police Chief Dave Brown is not only facing an internal mutiny from his officers who say they have lost confidence in his ability to lead, but the city has also found his department violated city code by trading police vehicles without consent.
City Manager Tom O'Neill has called on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the trading of police cars without seeking approval from the Port Richey City Council, a move that "was not in compliance with the city code," O'Neill wrote in a letter Monday to the FDLE.
"Specifically, I learned that three police vehicles were traded to a private company allegedly in return for services or equipment," O'Neill wrote in a letter to the FDLE.
There are also allegations of "improprieties in the operation of the city police impound lot," O'Neill wrote.
O'Neill declined to comment on the FDLE letter saying he wants a "fair and impartial" investigation to be conducted. Brown could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, O'Neill also received a letter Thursday from the West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association stating of 16 city police union members, 15 voted "no confidence" in Brown. The one dissenting vote during the Wednesday meeting came from a civilian dispatcher, said PBA director of operations Jim Diamond.
Diamond said the city manager is not bound to act on the letter, but it shows the police officers do not trust Brown's leadership. The allegations involving the city police vehicles and impound lot were not addressed at the meeting, according to Diamond.
The PBA held the vote after several complaints were filed against Brown by his officers who said the chief failed to follow through on promises regarding promotions, transfers and budget items, Diamond said.
"They said the chief either forgot, was not capable of following through on promises, or just flat out lied," Diamond said.