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St. Pete police chief to retire

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St. Pete Police Chief Chuck Harmon says he'll retire in January St. Pete Police Chief Chuck Harmon says he'll retire in January
Melanie Bevan is one of the chief's recommendations for his replacement. Melanie Bevan is one of the chief's recommendations for his replacement.
Luke Williams is one of the chief's recommendations for his replacement. Luke Williams is one of the chief's recommendations for his replacement.
ST PETERSBURG, FL -

St. Petersburg Police Chief Charles "Chuck" Harmon announced Wednesday he's decided to retire in January 2014. Harmon said a discussion with his wife over not being able to attend a family event prompted the decision to move up the planned retirement that would have happened in 2015 anyway.

"It was one of those times you thought about 18 years of being on call and 13 years of shift work." said Harmon. "It's time and I'm looking forward to it."

Harmon became chief in 2001. Altogether he served on the force for over 31 years. He started as a patrol officer.

Harmon's announced departure comes in the heat of a mayoral race that pits current Mayor Bill Foster against challenger Rick Kriseman.

Mayor Foster could decide to appoint a new chief prior to the November election, but Harmon said he doesn't believe that will happen. Kriseman released a statement Wednesday saying it shouldn't happen.

Mayor Foster said he's committed to conducting a national search for the most qualified candidates, and he doesn't plan to make a decision prior to January.

Harmon said he informed Foster around noon Wednesday of his choice to step down and recommended the mayor pick assistant chief Luke Williams or Melanie Bevan as his replacement.

"I think they both should be given an opportunity if time permits to show what they can do<" Harmon told reporters. "This police department has historically not done well with an outside candidate coming in to be police chief."

Foster says he believes the two assistant chiefs recommended by Harmon are excellent candidates for the job.

As for his own plans, Harmon plans to spend more time with family, on house projects and on his hobbies.

"I certainly won't miss the 2am phone calls or 3am phone calls and some of the things that go along with this job,' Harmon said.

"But again, it's been a rewarding experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world."

 

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