Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan is retiring from the department after 31 years.
Tampa's top cop announced the news at a press conference Monday morning. His retirement is effective as of Sept. 10.
Dugan has been the Chief of Police in the city since 2017.
"For 31 years, and the last four of them as your police chief, I have been proud to serve this city. It has been the honor of a lifetime to help lead this department and to serve and protect our great community," Dugan said.
TPD applauded his work in community relations in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, COVID-19, as well as safety for things like Hurricane Irma preparations and safety measures for major events in Tampa.
"When you know it’s time to retire, it’s time to retire," Mayor Jane Castor said. "He has given his heart and soul to this organization. There aren’t many police chiefs in the Tampa Bay area who have had to lead through some of the incidents Chief Dugan has had to lead through."
Those incidents include COVID-19, as well as the hunt for the Seminole Heights serial killer, most notably.
- Arrest documents reveal key evidence against suspected Seminole Heights killer
- Tampa City Council approves purchase of 650 body cameras for TPD patrol officers
- Fallen TPD officer veered into path of wrong-way driver to protect others, chief says
"I owe him a debt of gratitude and respect his decision to retire," Castor said. "I will be eternally grateful for your service to our community and for your friendship."
Danny Alvarez, with the Tampa Police Benevolent Association, said Dugan's decades on the force earned him a high level of respect.
“When you see someone that has been at every spot along the way, it matters. So that they understand what the police officer, policewoman, policeman that is on the street, they know what they’re doing and they know what they’re going through," Alvarez said.
Alvarez said he wouldn't wish this past year on anyone in a leadership position.
“There are challenges and then there was 2020. And Chief Dugan, we feel, rose to the occasion and helped lead the Tampa Police Department when it needed it most," Alvarez said.
Those challenges also included controversy over how to respond to protesters and increase police oversight through a Citizen Review Board.
- State Attorney: 67 protesters arrested for unlawful assembly in Tampa will not be prosecuted
- Tampa Bay taxpayer money being spent on tear gas, despite being banned from war practices in the 90s
- Tampa Citizen Review Board listens to nearly 4 hours of public comment demanding change
- Tampa's police chief moves forward with police reform
- Revamped Citizen Review Board ordinance signed into law
Dugan said, in times of change, he and his officers have remained committed to always improving.
He had a message for his future replacement.
“Whoever is the next person to be in charge, they have to be able to be flexible, open to change and listen to people," Dugan said.
Castor says Assistant Chief Ruben Delgado will be the acting chief in the meantime, then a search will commence for a new police chief that she says will be a nationwide search.