After Assistant Chief Melanie Bevan and two of the other four finalists were eliminated from consideration as St. Petersburg’s next Police Chief, the focus turned briefly to the last finalist standing, Jerry Geier, a thirty-year veteran of law enforcement who is chief of a relatively small department in Arizona.
Would Geier be trading the dry heat of the American West for the sweltering humidity of Florida’s Gulf Coast?
Turns out, the answer is ‘No.’
Geier emailed the media on Sunday to say he too is no longer in the running to be chief. Like Bevan’s elimination, the news about Geier surprised city leaders and residents who, at this point, have little clue who will succeed retiring Chief Chuck Harmon.
That Geier was the obvious favorite of former Deputy Mayor and Police Chief Goliath Davis is only making matters more complicated.
Again, all four finalists to be the next Chief of Police have been eliminated. This is like an episode of Survivor where all of the contestants have been sent home.
My colleague Gene Webb was first to report that Clearwater Police Chief Tony Holloway has emerged as a possible candidate for Mayor Rick Kriseman.
According to Kameel Stanley of the Tampa Bay Times, Holloway, 52, has been the chief in Clearwater since 2010 and has deep ties to Pinellas County. He rose through the ranks in Clearwater and became the city’s first African-American captain before leaving in 2007 to lead a department in Massachusetts. When he returned in 2010, Holloway updated the agency’s crime-tracking technology and directed his officers to have more face-to-face contact with citizens.
The Holloway development is such a dramatic turn of events is a high reward/high risk situation for Kriseman, who will either look foolish for having passed over the four finalists he selected or brilliant for recruiting an out-of-the-box choice to lead the police department.
But after Holloway’s name emerged, many residents took to social media to a) express frustration with the process which has led the city to this point and b) wonder what Holloway brings to the table that Bevan did not.
Well, he is already a chief of a department familiar with St. Pete’s operations and needs AND he is African-American, which is a big box Kriseman would love to check.
Neither Holloway nor Cleawater City Manager Bill Horne could be reached for comment.