Zephyrhills police chief David Shears is hanging up his uniform following 25 years of service.
His retirement, effective May 31, was announced during the Zephyrhills City Council May 8 meeting.
The council then unanimously approved City Manager Steve Spina’s appointment of Zephyrhills police Capt. Derek Brewer to interim chief, effective June 1.
The city now will undergo a hiring process—expected to take several months—to fill the position permanently.
Shears, now 54, had 16 years on the force when he replaced former chief Russell Barnes in 2008.
Barnes resigned after accusations he created a “flex time” policy that allowed employees to receive time off instead of overtime pay for extra hours worked.
Brewer, like Shears, is a longtime member of the Zephyrhills Police Department. Hired as a patrol officer in 2002, Brewer served as a field training officer, patrol sergeant and lieutenant, before his promotion to patrol captain in 2014.
Brewer, 44, earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Hillsborough Community College, and attended the senior leadership training program at the Southern Police Institute in Louisville, Kentucky and the Florida Police Chiefs executive leadership training in 2014.
He also is slated to graduate from the Command Officer Management Program and obtain a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Saint Leo University this year.
Besides regular law enforcement duties, Brewer is a member of several committees and organizations: Transportation Exception Plan Committee; Pasco-Hernando State College Technical Advisory Committee; Pasco County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force; Zephyrhills Code Enforcement Task Force; Zephyrhills Police Department Homeless Initiative; Zephyrhills Site Plan Review Committee; Florida Police Chiefs Association; and, Noon Rotary Club of Zephyrhills.
Additionally, Brewer has received numerous honors during his 15-year law enforcement career, including:
- Pasco County Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year (2010)
- William B. Eiland Officer of the Year Award (2012)
- Tampa Police Department Appreciation Award (2013)
- City of Zephyrhills Employee of the Year Award (2015)
In March, Brewer outlined the city’s 2016 crime statistics to the Zephyrhills city council.
The report — generated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation — found overall crime and arrests decreased in Zephyrhills last year, but violent crime and domestic offenses went up.
According to the report, the city’s total crime rate, which incorporates violent and property offenses, decreased 4.7 percent in 2016.
Violent crimes rose 3 percent (a total of 51 offenses), while property crimes fell 5.2 percent (a total of 879 offenses).
The report also revealed a significant jump in citywide domestic-related offenses.
Those incidents, which include simple battery and assault, skyrocketed 27.6 percent, with 125 actual offenses in 2016.
Total arrests, however, decreased 12 percent (832 total) in 2016.
At that meeting, Brewer indicated that Zephyrhills Police is taking a more proactive approach toward narcotics arrests, using a special response team for surveillance and intelligence gathering “to attack the problem at a broader level.”
He also said the department is looking to take “a stronger approach to domestic violence cases.”
Brewer noted that addressing code enforcement and the homeless rate within Zephyrhills are some of the department’s other major focuses.
Published May 24, 2017