Entire Melbourne Village Police Department resigns after ongoing issues with Town Commission

  • In US
  • 2022-08-18 20:05:09Z
  • By Florida Today

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The entire six-member Melbourne Village police force - including the police chief - handed in their resignations this week after ongoing conflicts with the town commission.

"There's no singular reason," Melbourne Village Mayor Tabitha Neimann told FLORIDA TODAY, declining to elaborate.

Police Chief Gary Loos did not immediately respond to several inquiries.

A former officer said the town commission has clashed with the police department's leadership over issues like salaries and day-to-day operations.

Melbourne Village
Melbourne Village's police department calls it quits.  

The commission will now have to decide whether to rebuild the agency or craft an agreement with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office for coverage.

Most of the resignations will be effective on Friday, leaving the town of about 800 people without a dedicated police agency.

"The Brevard County Sheriff's Office has already been providing backup for the last six years," Neimann said.

More: Brevard sheriff still investigating incident during Val Demings' campaign stop at Mims

More: Body of Melbourne teen found along river banks; foul play not suspected

The small Melbourne Village police department has six officers, including the police chief, and patrols the town located off U.S. 192.

Loos, a law enforcement officer for four decades, was hired by the agency in 2012 after serving at the Melbourne Police Department. He was named chief in 2019.

The all-volunteer town commission will consider a proposed agreement with the sheriff's office to take over police shifts and handle patrols and emergency calls, Neimann said in a statement.

"Regardless of the ultimate direction chosen by the town commission and citizens of Melbourne Village, rest assured that the town's residents and businesses will continue to receive comprehensive law enforcement and police protection services at all times," the statement read.

The town had long billed itself as a safe, environmentally-conscious bedroom community, with lush greenery along with long and winding roads dotted with modest, older homes.

"There's not a lot going on," said Angelo Caravano, a longtime veteran of law enforcement and former detective who quit the agency last month.

"Basically, you have a few death investigations, traffic accidents and a few thefts at the Target store," Caravano said. "You don't see any burglaries or anything like that."

Caravano joined the agency in 2020 and says there has been steady contention between the town's leadership and the police chief, sometimes over salary and also over other day-to-day operational issues. "Some of the officers wanted pay raises, so they were fighting about that," Caravano said.

The police department's budget for the upcoming year is $405,000, town officials said.

"The reality of it is, is that this is a small town and they really can't afford to pay anything comparable to what the bigger cities are offering," he said.

J.D. Gallop is a Criminal Justice/Breaking News Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallop at 321-917-4641 or jgallop@floridatoday.com. Twitter: @JDGallop.

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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Melbourne Village police set to resign en masse Friday


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