Thursday, April 19, 2018
Public safety

Assistant Tampa police chief, key in security planning for RNC, seeks demotion for 'personal reasons'

TAMPA — One of the men in charge of security planning for the Republican National Convention has taken a voluntary demotion.

Tampa police Assistant Chief Marc Hamlin has asked to be demoted to captain for "personal reasons," said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

Though he explained his reason to some co-workers at a staff meeting Monday, he said he did not want to discuss it publicly. McElroy said it was a difficult decision for him and he did it "in the best interest of his family."

Hamlin, 45, is married and has three sons.

Lately, Hamlin has served as the face of local RNC security efforts at community and business meetings. He split convention leadership duties with his co-worker and longtime friend, Assistant Chief John Bennett.

Popular within the department, Hamlin has been rumored to be a top pick for chief when Jane Castor retires in May 2014. He's gregarious, approachable and direct, said Tampa police union president Greg Stout.

"I think the entire department is a little disappointed because they felt he was their go-to guy," Stout said. "If they had a problem, they could walk up to him and talk to him."

The change in position will be effective Sunday.

Hamlin has been talking about this personal issue for a while with Castor, and when he announced his decision at the staff meeting the reaction of those in the room was surprise and empathy, McElroy said.

Castor sent out an email to staff later in the afternoon. In it, she wrote:

Marc Hamlin has asked for a demotion to the position of Captain for personal reasons. He has served in the position of Assistant Chief for over two years and has done a fine job. I know this decision was not an easy one, but something he had to do for his family.

He's never been disciplined in his 21-year career with the department, McElroy said.

Castor retires in May 2014, a date set by the Deferred Retirement Option Program (or DROP). It's still a possibility that Hamlin could be picked by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to be the next chief, McElroy said.

Hamlin has time to rise up the ranks if he wants, and one doesn't have to be assistant chief to be chosen as chief, she said. Former police Chief Bennie Holder was promoted from the rank of major.

Hamlin will still be heavily involved in the RNC, but in a different capacity. He'll oversee the downtown area, Channelside and Ybor City, and will work with incoming Assistant Chief John Newman.

"So (Hamlin) will still be involved probably just as much," McElroy said.

He is listed as the "lead person" for local RNC security services in a 2010 resolution between the city and the Tampa Bay Host Committee. Tampa police want to change that designation to Bennett, but it needs to be approved by the Host Committee, the Committee on Arrangements and the U.S. Secret Service.

Because the duties already have been reassigned, that's simply a formality, McElroy said. Castor wouldn't have approved Hamlin's demotion if it could compromise RNC plans, she said.

Newman, who oversees District 2, the area near Busch Gardens, will be promoted to assistant chief Sunday. Capt. Brian Dugan will fill the District 2 spot.

Newman has been with the department for 26 years and lately has overseen tax fraud and gang investigations. In 2009, he led a major operation aimed at Tampa's Drak gang, which sent 17 gang members to jail.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

Comments
Firefighters battle apartment complex fire in Tampa

Firefighters battle apartment complex fire in Tampa

TAMPA — Firefighters were battling a blaze at Captiva Club Apartments on Thursday night, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.According to video taken at the scene, the roof of one of the apartment buildings at 4401 Club Captiva Dr. ...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Florida deputies shot, killed at restaurant in Gilchrist County

Two Gilchrist County sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed at a restaurant about 3 p.m. Thursday.The deputies were at Ace China restaurant in downtown Trenton when a man shot them through the restaurant’s window, a Sheriff’s Office statement said.A...
Updated: 1 hour ago
FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

FHP: Distracted driver plunges more than 50 feet off I-275

ST. PETERSBURG — A distracted driver walked away unscathed after his car plunged 50 feet off Interstate 275, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Thomas Highhouse, 61, of Pinellas Park, was driving his 2016 Chevrolet Camaro south on Interstate 275...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

Police: Knife-wielding burglar breaks into house, says ‘I’m the cops’

LARGO — Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who broke into a home early Thursday morning and confronted the owners with a knife.The incident took place about 3:40 a.m. at a townhouse at 7360 Ulmerton Road, according to Largo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

Deputies: Man broke into house, set it on fire and stole their dog

SEMINOLE — A Seminole man was arrested on allegations that he burglarized a home, set it on fire and stole the homeowner’s dog, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Austin Lang, 19, now faces numerous charges of burglary, arson and poss...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Deputies: 15-year-old threatened attack on River Ridge High School

Deputies: 15-year-old threatened attack on River Ridge High School

NEW PORT RICHEY—A 15-year-old student was arrested Wednesday on allegations that he threatened to stage a shooting attack on River Ridge High School, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.The student attended Schwettman Education Center, dep...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Deputies: 19-month-old child hospitalized after being found in pond

Deputies: 19-month-old child hospitalized after being found in pond

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 19-month-old child was taken to the hospital Thursday after being found in a pond, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies were called at 12:31 p.m. to the 4700 block of Crestknoll Drive.An adult was watching the c...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Teen, 16, walks into path of motorcycle while crossing Ulmerton Road

Teen, 16, walks into path of motorcycle while crossing Ulmerton Road

PINELLAS PARK — A 16-year-old was injured Thursday morning after being struck by a motorcycle on Ulmerton Road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place at about 6 a.m. Austin Montgomery, 23, was riding his 2011 Suzuki motorcycle ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Retiring Tampa cop’s son pleads guilty to hazing in death of FSU student

Retiring Tampa cop’s son pleads guilty to hazing in death of FSU student

TAMPA — A Leon County judge sentenced the son of former Tampa Assistant Police Chief Marc Hamlin on Monday to 60 days in jail for a role in the November hazing death of a 20-year-old Florida State University student. Christopher Hamlin, 20, was one o...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Teen, 16, killed in Hernando crash; 17-year-old critically injured

Teen, 16, killed in Hernando crash; 17-year-old critically injured

BROOKSVILLE — A 16-year-old boy was killed and a 17-year-old boy critically injured after their car was struck by a pick-up truck at the intersection of U.S. 19 and Country Road on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The cras...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18