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Riviera Beach's interim police chief works to restore public's trust

Interim Chief Josh Lewis takes over for Nathan Osgood
Riviera Beach Interim Police Chief Josh Lewis
Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 18:39:21-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Riviera Beach’s new interim police chief admits he has his work cut out for him less than a week after his predecessor’s sudden resignation.

Interim Police Chief Josh Lewis' new job includes re-establishing public confidence and rebuilding the police department's reputation.  

"There's some things we need to improve on," Lewis said. "I think it's always good to be more responsive to the community."  

It’s a community divided between wealthy Singer Island, and the mainland part of the city where mistrust of the police simmers.  

That’s because of incidents like the 2019 "Go Dead" case.  

Riviera Beach's 2019 Go Dark case
The 2019 "Go Dead" case stemmed from officers turning off their body cameras when police chased down a suspect.

The incident came to light this year when officers turned off body cameras when police chased down a suspect and a supervisor gave the "go dead" order.  

The suspect was later beaten after body cameras were turned off.  

"At the end of the day, we want a safe community," said Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans, who appointed Lewis as interim chief.  

Lewis took over after a seven-month outside investigation was critical of ex-chief Nathan Osgood, forcing his resignation.  

The report found Osgood broke police policy by ordering the "un-arrest" of city councilman Douglas Lawson on a domestic battery charge — a story first reported by Contact 5 last September. 

Nathan Osgood, former Riviera Beach police chief
Nathan Osgood resigned as chief of the Riviera Beach Police Department on April 1, 2022.

The report also found Osgood wrongly got a captain fired who refused to cover up the "un-arrest" order. 

"I want leadership. I want us to move forward," Evans said.

Evens was asked if moving forward included the leadership of Lewis, a 25 year veteran of the often troubled force.  

"Chief Lewis has the acumen, the skill set, the demeanor and the approach that will serve our community well," Evans said.  

"I'm very honored to be selected as the interim chief. That has been one of my goals," Lewis said. "And yes, I would definitely enjoy having the opportunity to lead this job for many years to come."  

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