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Vero Beach City Council gives vote of confidence to police chief following ouster effort

Concerned resident says crime, low police department morale spurred him to act
Posted at 4:20 PM, Apr 29, 2024

VERO BEACH, Fla. — The Vero Beach City Council passed a motion of confidence Monday for Police Chief David Currey following an outside effort to replace him.

Two local business owners had initially contacted City Manager Monte Falls last fall about making a change.

"I think a new leader needs to take this job," businessman Lanse Padgett said.

Padgett said he contacted Capt. Milo Thornton of the Indian River County Sheriff's Office as a possible replacement.

Lanse Padgett discussed why he sought the removal of Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey.
Lanse Padgett discussed why he sought the removal of Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey.

"He said, 'No, I'm committed to the sheriff's race,'" Padgett said.

Padgett said crime and low police department morale spurred him to act, claiming many officers had confided in him.

"Unfortunately, they feel that they're held back from doing their jobs and targeted if they speak out about their superiors," Padgett said.

Before public comment was held at Monday's meeting, Falls said crime had decreased in the city between 2015 and 2022 before ticking up last year. Falls said nothing presented to him rose to the level of termination for the chief.

Currey has worked for the department for 34 years — the last 12 years as chief.

Police chiefs from Stuart, Sebastian and Fellsmere also attended the meeting.

Also in the audience were family members of those involved in some of the most high-profile crimes in the city in recent history.

Kristin Simpson was among those who spoke in support of Chief David Currey during a meeting held in Vero Beach on April 29, 2024.
Kristin Simpson was among those who spoke in support of Chief David Currey during a meeting held in Vero Beach on April 29, 2024.

Kristin Simpson's husband was murdered in 2011.

"The man and all of the officers underneath him were the most supportive and amazing people during the worst experience of my life," Simpson said.

The last public speaker at the meeting was Currey, who became emotional at times while saying the effort to remove him was a bullying effort part of a political agenda.

"It is an honor to be your police chief," Currey said. "Together we are Vero Beach strong."

At the end of the meeting, the city council passed a series of motions. This included votes of confidence for both the police chief and the city manager and a motion to end discussion on the matter.

"It means everything," Currey said. "Honestly, I believe I had that vote of confidence all along."