Jul 27, 2021 - News

Tampa police chief Brian Dugan announces retirement

Photo courtesy of Tampa Police Department

Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan will retire on Sept. 10, after 31 years with the department. Dugan spent the last 4 years as chief.

State of play: Dugan told the Tampa Bay Times after his announcement yesterday that "it’s just time." He said he consulted with Mayor Jane Castor — formerly his boss as police chief — and his family.

Flashback: Dugan was appointed interim chief by then-Mayor Bob Buckhorn in 2017 after Eric Ward’s sudden retirement.

  • He soon shepherded the department through the Seminole Heights killings and Hurricane Irma, leading Buckhorn to grant him a "battlefield promotion."
  • He also faced a turbulent 2020 with months of racial justice protests and criticism of the department that put officer morale "in the gutter" — as well as the coronavirus pandemic and the killing of Master Police Officer Jesse Madsen in the line of duty.

Between the lines: Creative Loafing points out that from 2017 to 2019, Dugan’s department had a 24% increase in use of force during arrests and a 223% increase in the use of chemical agents. Last year, TPD had a 28% increase in officers pointing their guns at people.

What’s next: Assistant Chief Ruben "Butch" Delgado will fill Dugan’s shoes as Castor launches a national search for a new chief.


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