St Augustine Beach – who will be chief

The top contenders for the position of Chief of Police have spent the last two nights politicking the community at a reception Monday night and then responding to 30-minute public interviews last night; tonight, the St Augustine Beach City Commission will select one to administer the beleaguered local law enforcement agency.

The candidates were selected from hundreds of applications screened by consulting firm Colin Baenziger & Associates — one is supposed to be chosen from the top five applicants; however, there have been allegations that one or more of the “finalists” may have more “skeletons in their closet” than are being disclosed publicly before tonight’s meeting.

Under close consideration are two local residents; Robert Hardwick; assistant chief investigator for the State Attorney’s Office and an Army combat veteran with two tours in Iraq, and Todd Thompson; a retired colonel from the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

The remaining three being considered are Richard Blom; a retired assistant chief from Miami, David F Brannon II; a captain with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, and Harold Rutledge; a former Clay County commissioner, 20-year veteran of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, a security consultant, and law enforcement instructor.

If you plan to attend, the special meeting will convene tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the St Augustine Beach City Commission Meeting Room located at 2200 A1A South in St Augustine Beach.