PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - In the main lobby of the Port St. Lucie Police Department, the picture of Donald Shinnamon is at the end of the line of former police chiefs. It's the only image left of the man the city fired on Thursday. The man sitting in Shinnamon's former office on Friday for an interview hasn't moved anything from his current office next door. Assistant Chief Brian Reuther is now the acting chief.
"We have excellent people in place. We have excellent leadership in this organization so as far as policing the city and serving the citizens of Port St. Lucie, they will continue to receive a high level of service from the Port St. Lucie police department," said Reuther.
Reuther takes over a department reeling from the loss of two dozen officers due to budget cuts and a contentious year between law enforcement and the former mayor. Now there's the sudden loss of the top cop after less then two years on the job.
"I was surprised. I was with Chief Shinnamon and was kind of taken aback by the whole thing," said Reuther.
Reuther knows the city and he knows this new position. He was one of the nine original officers when the department was created 30 years ago and this is his fourth time as acting chief.
"I've done this before. I'm a known quantity. Everybody knows me. They know my capabilities. I've done this job. I can do this job," said Reuther.
But does he want this job permanently? Reuther says no offer has been made and he's waiting for the dust to settle then see where that takes him. "I have tremendous confidence in everyone in this organizations ability to serve the citizenry. So, things will work out."
To sever ties with its old chief, the city of Port St. Lucie gave Shinnamon a three-month severance payment and a payout including his last paycheck and unused vacation. It adds up to just over 45-thousand dollars.
Copyright (c) 2010 The E. W . Scripps Company and Angie's List
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