Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw get unique 3-year deal to continue as city’s top cop

TAMPA, Fla. - The City of Tampa's top cop will be on the job for at least three more years, after city council members unanimously approved Police Chief Lee Bercaw's new contract on Thursday.

The deal is unique and will allow Bercaw to retire in September, only to be rehired by the city the next day with a $36,000 raise, pushing his salary to about $240,000. The move will allow Bercaw to tap into his pension at the same time, worth at least $96,000.

"We pay into our pension, so it's an investment that we make over our career," Bercaw said after the meeting.

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The plan caused confusion last month and council decided to delay the vote until this week. Prior to the vote, the chief received high praise from members of the community and council members.

"I'm not easily impressed, but Bercaw has shown integrity and leadership and moving this administration in the right direction by building a healthier and safe community," said Tonya Lewis, a Tampa resident who spoke during public comment.

"The real dispositive issue here on this vote, is stability for Tampa Police Department," added Councilman Luis Viera. "I've said it before, and I say it again: we've had four police chiefs, including interim police chiefs, over the last four years. We don't need a fifth."

Bercaw said he's ready to move forward with the same strategies that have made him so popular.

READ: Tampa Police Department launches new technology for real-time updates for victims of crime

"I want to continue the great work that we're doing," the chief said. The community policing emphasis that we're doing in crime reduction is making significant headways. And we want to continue that forward momentum."

Bercaw's new salary will reportedly be in line with that of chiefs in Orlando and Miami.


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