St Augustine Beach resident Robert Hardwick may have been appointed Chief of Police by unanimous vote of the commission, but Historic City News readers recall that he came into a department fraught with controversy and divisiveness that left some citizens questioning whether the unaccredited police agency was worth the cost.
At tonight’s St Augustine Beach City Commission meeting, Hardwick will report his official recommendations for department staffing levels.
“Any reduction in law enforcement personnel, suggested in the blended approach, would be a detriment to the overall public safety and quality of life for our citizens,” Hardwick will tell commissioners tonight — news that will likely be received with favor.
Since taking the position, the following has occurred:
• The officers voluntarily voted to remove the police department union;
• New Chief has implemented a system for anonymous, peer evaluations of his performance so that any officer or staff employee in the department will be able to comment on his job performance without fear of retaliation;
• INCREASE in officer productivity of approx. 43%;
• Every policy and procedure is being re-written in accordance with State Accreditation;
• Cost-effective measures have decreased energy consumption in the department, resulting in at least a $200.00 in monthly savings;
• Closing Cases: since taking office, 95% of over 1,000 cases marked “unapproved” or “active” by the prior administration have been resolved;
• Complete inventory of the evidence room, with more than 75% completed and ongoing;
• Increased revenue from forfeiture of assets used in the commission of crimes and asset surplus sales;
• Integration of pro-active and modern policing and investigative procedures such as confidential informants and community outreach;
• Expanded drug panel testing of officers to ensure public trust;
• Department accreditation on an active timeline to be completed by January 2015.
If you plan to attend, the commission will convene in the Meeting Room on the south side of St Augustine Beach City Hall located at 2200 A1A South in St Augustine Beach at 6:00 p.m.