Former St. Pete Beach Police Officer Sues Police Chief

Todd R. Brien is suing the former St. Pete Beach Police Chief David Romine and the St. Pete Beach City Manager after he was fired.

Todd R. Brien is filing a lawsuit against the former St. Pete Beach Police Chief David Romine and the St. Pete Beach City Manager after he was fired, according to Tampabay.com.

Brien said he was fired after he was spoke out against the move to the Sheriff's Department in St. Pete Beach.

Brien was terminated nine days after he wrote an e-mail to Mayor Steve McFarlin about a July 4th traffic accident  on the Corey Avenue Bridge that he responded to and was told it was Sheriff's problem due to it's location. 

Brien told the McFarlin that the people involved in the accident waited on hold for ten minutes before getting a response from the Sheriff's Department.

McFarlin proceeded to forward the email to a St. Pete Beach Police seargent stating that the publicity, in either opinion, was unacceptable.

Brien was fired on July 19th for failing to satifactorily pass his probationary period.

Four former St. Pete Beach seargents have written letters defending Brien.

Ken January 14, 2013 at 11:53 AM
I hope he wins this lawsuit It`s about time to stop the arrogance of some of the people that think they have all the power. When the real truth is They are nothing more than an employee of the people ABUSE OF POWER NEEDS TO BE BROUGHT UNDER CONTROL
Michael Calero January 14, 2013 at 12:02 PM
In my opinion, a Police Officer should of handle the accident while waiting for the Sheriff's Deputies and they would of taken over the situation. P.O. Biren did not follow department policy (Which most do have unwritten, never go outside the department) follow the chain of command on his complaint of the situation and but he went over his Supervisors head by writing the Mayor. His actions were not correct and shouldn't of been fired over that violation of policy..
Michael Calero January 14, 2013 at 12:15 PM
I totally agree with you Ken, Police Officer are public servants, and not have a attitude that citizens are their enemy. They should be able to screen who they are dealing with and go accordingly the actions of the citizen of course always on their guard since it is all Police Officers want to go home after their tour of duty servicing the community.
CJ January 14, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Chain of command? That is a pretty loosely defined thing. Following that is simply a recommended route, and it is that way no matter where you work...but there is no ''requirement'' to follow a chain of command in many circumstances. Even so, it certainly is a better way to remain on friendly terms at your job. Chain of Commands give you guide to know which level to protest to next...in case you simply do not know. That said, it is perfectly within your right to go straight to the top...or...''wherever'' you deem may get you the results you seek. Even in the military there is a chain of command, of course...but nothing prevents you from going straight to an IG (Inspector General). Obviously this no a way to gain popularity usually, but it is also not grounds for dismissal. I feel differently about jobs with public services and/or larger companies, especially corporations...than I do about a small business scale. I feel an owner of a small company should be able to fire you simply is he does not like you...but larger companies, etc (such as a police department) should have to generally follow federal hiring/firing guidelines. In this case, the officer was not fired for just reasons. If anything, he demonstrated qualities that would seem excellent for a police officer.
Michael Calero January 14, 2013 at 07:25 PM
You are forgetting Police Department within themselves are considered a semi-military outfit. Like you stated about the Military, believe me in the military one is told to follow orders, after the job is completed then one can complaint. If one goes around this all hell is going to break loose and that goes for Police departments also, Police Departments are not corporations. Believe me that's how it is which the public is not aware of , I know been there and am retired Police detective. In my former department going over someones head could of meant a distant transfer thereby creating a hardship in commuting..
CJ January 14, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Michael. I am not ''forgetting'' that. I agree virtually entirely with you. In most practical comparisons, the civilian Police Department is identical to the military...except of course...you can quit....lol. I think it goes without saying that many officers were MP's at one time. Obviously once someone goes above the chain of command, they have pretty much sealed their fate...at least at that police station. In the military, once you go the IG route...continuing on with another re-up enlistment may be a challenge to think strongly about before doing it. People who do IG complaints have that on their records and even once you transfer to another duty station....it may come back to bite you. Having higher rank would help, but less than an E-5, etc might regret trying to stay in any longer. 4 more years can be a very long time under normal conditions, but if you have an IG complaint on your record...it could be worse than hell. I think we agree on this topic. With you, it seems I often agree. We must be cut from a similar mold...lol. The truth is, there have been times when I feel I may have missed my calling and perhaps would have done well to have chosen police work for a career...but I am too old for that now. I'd end up like Zimmerman...lol. One of my weakness's all my life is that I was too straight looking and acting when younger to fit in with the druggies...although I did my share of trying...lol...and I have been too darn ornery most of my life to be a cop.
CJ January 14, 2013 at 08:09 PM
I apologize for throwing in my opions on this same subject in normal..non-police works places. It really did not fit in well here. I tend to try and squeeze in too much...like you do sometimes also..lol.
CJ January 14, 2013 at 08:12 PM
so , you think it would be agood way to end up like Eddie Murphy or liike some of the other funny cop movies about cops who stirred up trouble...lol
Michael Calero January 14, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Common sense without it one doesn't make a good cop with all the situations one faces on a daily bases. We had Patrol Guilds, Detective Guilds but that is what they were guilds, end result go by the penal law and criminal procedure laws . With that we would have to make a good decision or else, just the way it is part of the job. This Rookie Officer just did it the wrong way, he shouldn't been fired, If I was his supervisor, I would of punished him like making him do a park-walk-and talk with the community more walking than driving for a few weeks just to let him know there is a chain of command.This incident was minor in respects to major situations. So don't make waves or it might come back and bite you.. It did in his case but that was just too much of a punishment , I call it COLD in the behavior of the Chief who once was a rookie himself and should known it takes time to be a veteran Police Officer and rookie at times make mistakes hopefully minor. One doesn't hurt a rookie over something like this, the rookie went through a lot to get to be a Police Officer .I believe the computer age of today, doesn't allow P.O's to use common sense,everything is by the book, we are dealing with humans so one has to understand, if a minor infraction is committed one doesn't always have to hurt the person,a warning can be given. Hard to continue to explain one has to be faced with a situation but, shaving the head to look mean isn't the answer and that is what I am seeing today,
Jim Bean January 17, 2013 at 03:58 AM
ARE YOU ALL SERIOUS ABOUT THIS GUY? Have you checked his background? He retired from the Woonsocket, RI PD in 2006. Didn't get a job until 3 years later in 2009 at a local casino. Ran for Mayor of his town 3x and lost, ran for State Rep. 3x and lost. Only got in as a RI State Rep. because no one else ran against him. Left his beautiful wife and daughter behind in Rhode Island to "make a better life for his family", got fired, got a girlfriend in St. Pete Beach now has a restraining order against him from his wife back in RI. HE IS THE LAUGHING STOCK OF WOONSOCKET, RI. Shame on you Mr. Brien. Florida..YOU CAN HAVE HIM! Signed a disappointed, former constituent.
Steve May 25, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Well it appears that the city, Bonfield and Romine will all be paying for the violation of Mr. Brien's first amendment right to free speech. The federal court judge ruled that Bonfield and Romine would not be dismissed from the suit based on their claim of qualified immunity. It is going to cost them plenty.


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