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Longboat Key Wednesday, Mar. 31, 2021 2 months ago

Longboat Key Police Chief Kelli Smith resigns

Kelli Smith has accepted the police chief role at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

The town of Longboat Key announced Wednesday the resignation of Police Chief Kelli Smith, who arrived in town about six months ago. 

Smith’s resignation is effective April 30, according to a news release from Town Manager Tom Harmer.

The release states Smith has accepted the police chief position at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. She is due to start her new position on May 3.

“We are disappointed that she will be moving on, but thankful for her efforts to bring positive change after Chief [Pete] Cumming retired,” the release states. “We appreciate her hard work to enhance training and update departmental policies and practices.

“We understand this was an opportunity that was presented to her and hard to turn down.”

The town plans to appoint an interim police chief while looking for Smith’s permanent successor.

Smith is set to work with the Longboat Key Police Department during the next few weeks to help with the transition.

“We are fortunate to have great officers keeping our residents and visitors safe every day,” the release states. “There will be no impact to our services to the public.”

In her cover letter to FGGU, Smith writes: “In 2020, I returned to Florida and have been the police chief for the town of Longboat Key. While this opportunity is rewarding, I deeply miss the student experience side of university policing and the opportunity to engage with tomorrow’s leaders.”

Smith's annual salary in Longboat Key was $115,000. She is due to make $125,000 each year in her new role, according to FGCU media and public relations director Kyle McCurry.

“As Florida Gulf Coast University’s newest public safety director, Chief Smith will work closely with members of the FGCU campus to build community partnerships, review policing policies, enhance the transparency of operations, improve interactions with the community, further the mission and values of our university, and create a welcoming and safe living and learning environment,” FGCU President Mike Martin wrote in a statement.

Smith fills the vacancy left by former FGCU Police Chief Steven Moore, who retired in March after 38 years in law enforcement. Moore's tenure included 15 years of service at FGCU.

In October 2020, Smith began her role as the Longboat Key police chief. Smith came into the position with 29 years of law enforcement experience, which included roles with the police departments of North Arizona University and the University of Central Florida.

Note: This is a developing story. Refresh the page for the latest updates.

Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

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