In a surprise announcement from City Hall, City Manager Bob Bartotta said Police Chief Peter Abbott had resigned this morning.
“We came to a mutual agreement,” Bartolotta said. “Expectations haven’t been met.”
The city manager discussed those expectations in a letter to the City Commission.
“When Chief Abbott was restored to his current position six months ago, it was with the expectation that major changes would be made in the way his department was being led,” Bartolotta wrote. “The chief had the opportunity to re-energize and re-invigorate the department. Unfortunately, this has not occurred.”
Abbott was placed on a four-month leave after a June 26 incident in which a police officer was caught on camera kicking a handcuffed suspect. Abbott’s subsequent approval of a payment to that suspect without consulting Bartolotta or the city attorney led to his suspension.
Since being reinstated, the city manager said Abbott has not demonstrated the leadership skills the police department now requires to rebuild trust within the community.
Abbott said he understands that if the administration felt he was not living up to expectations that it would need to make a move.
"Sometimes you just need to move on," said Abbott.
Capt. Mikel Holloway has been named interim chief. The 28-year veteran is the most senior captain on the force.
A national search for a permanent chief will begin soon. Holloway and any other Sarasota police commander will be considered.
“Chief Holloway is going to have my complete support,” Bartolotta said. “We’ve got to move forward, and it takes a philosophy change.”
Contact Robin Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org.