Port St. Lucie police overhaul

From the beginning of the day until late Tuesday afternoon, Port St. Lucie City Manager Greg Oravec called many top ranking officials of the police department over to City Hall for face to face meetings.  

Then, at 3 o'clock, he had a closed staff meeting with the majority of the department. Chief Brian Reuther, who had hoped to return to his position after being required to retire next month, will not be back in that post.  Two assistant police chiefs will be hired to run the day to day operations until a new chief is hired.  Also, two majors and three captains have been fired.  

The 2-million dollars in cost savings the city claims it will have will allow them to hire 18 additional staff members; 9 patrol officers, 5 detectives and other support staff.  

"Every time there's organizational change it's different.  We'll see it through and see how things go as far as the organization is concerned.  That's where we are right now," said chief Reuther.

As part of the organization, the city also plans to shut down the western substation entirely, even though it's only 7 years old, and put it up for lease or sale.  

Officers had still been assigned to the area but the building had been closed to the public for some time after a previous round of budget cuts couldn't provide civilian staffing.

These changes come after a tumultuous past few years for the police department.  The previous chief was fired and has since filed a wrongful termination suit against the city.  

Then, more recently, there was a controversy surrounding the former assistant city attorney who was given a ride home by police after being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving and not given a field sobriety test.  

That case led to the firing of the previous city manager.

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