ST. PETERSBURG — Interim police Chief Dave DeKay promoted five officers Thursday, capping a process clouded earlier this year by allegations of impropriety during testing.
DeKay selected Sgt. Stephen Mandakis to fill a lieutenant position, and Officers Candace Marklin, Terri Nagle, Ricardo Lopez and Jason Deary to fill sergeant slots.*
The promotions were to have taken place several months ago but were halted in March after concerns about racial divisions within the agency were raised at a community meeting at a local church. During the gathering, attended by several police officers, community activists and city officials, people also raised specific allegations about the latest round of promotions testing, prompting Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin to call for an investigation.
An independent review by a Clearwater auditing firm turned up several irregularities in the testing, but no outright cheating. The firm was not asked to make any other conclusions about the results, which were released at the end of May.
A promotion ceremony for the five officers will take place at 3 p.m. July 18 at the Water Resources Operations Building, 1635 Third Ave. N.
Mandakis, 50 has been at the department for 25 years and has consistently been ranked at the top of the last few promotion lists.
Lopez, 36, has been with the department since 2002 and has been a burglary detective and an acting supervisor.
Nagle, 37, joined the department in 2002 and has a background in psychology and did a stint in traffic homicide.
Deary, 41, who came to the agency in 1998 and has been a community police officer, also has been honored for his actions during the January 2011 standoff in which two officers were killed.
Marklin, 42, joined the department in 2003 and once was a forensic technician. In 2011, she received an award for rendering aid to officers killed that year.
In addition to the officers, DeKay also promoted two civilian employees. Dispatchers Melissa Alese, 29, who has been with the department since February 2008, and Rachelle Paulina, 28, employed since March 2006, will become emergency communications supervisors.
The promotions take effect July 21.
*This story has been corrected. An earlier version misspelled Lopez' first name.
Contact Kameel Stanley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8643. Follow @cornandpotatoes.