The following statement was issued by Mayor Gene Brown:
“Chief Melanie Bevan has been exonerated of all allegations against her in regards to the written complaint made on July 19, 2022 (IA 2022-106). Chief Bevan’s 36 years of law enforcement experience are very evident when the complete investigation is reviewed along with the analysis by Retired Judge (Gregory) Holder.
Chief Bevan has been and will continue to be an outstanding asset to the City of Bradenton, and she is supported by the City Council and myself.”
Administrative Investigation Summary, IA 2022-106
On July 19, 2022, the City of Bradenton Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards received a written complaint from Officer Hannah Kalchbrenner. Officer Kalchbrenner alleged that, on July 14, 2022, Chief Melanie Bevan improperly detained and searched two subjects, after they exited a residence in which a felony probation violator occupied. In addition, Officer Kalchbrenner stated that Chief Bevan entered the residence, began looking through the house, and remained in the residence for beyond a reasonable time. All of this took place while Chief Bevan was not wearing her department issued body armor.
Based upon Officer Kalchbrenner’s allegations I instructed the City of Bradenton Police Department Internal Affairs Unit to conduct an investigation and report directly to me on the investigation. Once the interviews were completed and the evidence gathered I retained Retired Judge Gregory Holder, of the Zinober Diana & Monteverde, P.A. law firm, to conduct a review of the investigation to determine if there were any search and seizure (Fourth Amendment) violations.
Retired Judge Holder made the following conclusions:
“Based upon my review of Chief Bevan’s actions involving the momentary detention of the two individuals exiting the defendant Wimbely’s residence and the pat-down of the male, as well as the cursory sweep of the residence during and shortly after the apprehension of the suspect, I conclude that absolutely no Fourth Amendment concerns or violations were implicated by these actions. Under these facts, supported by competent and substantial evidence, there simply was no search or seizure of either persons or property on July 14, 2022. Perhaps more importantly, Chief Bevan’s actions were not only consistent with both the statutory and constitutional parameters but were also consistent with defined police procedures not only within BPD, but also within law enforcement agencies throughout this nation. Her actions that day were taken to ensure the safety of all involved, both officers and citizens.”
Based upon the conclusions of Retired Judge Holder the allegations against Chief Bevan of Improper Procedure, PGO 401.VI.A.15 (June 16, 2021), and Illegal Search are hereby EXONERATED.
In regards to Chief Bevan not wearing her department issued body armor, she admitted to having her body armor with her but not wearing it. There is a policy conflict between PGO 507 (June 19, 2018) and PGO 300 (September 29, 2021). PGO 507 III.B, provides that all uniformed law enforcement officers shall be issued agency approved body armor that they are mandated to wear at all times. PGO 507 IV.B, further provides that it will be mandatory for all uniformed sworn members to wear their issued body armor while on duty at the Bradenton Police Department. PGO 300 VI.B, provides that all uniformed sworn members of the Bradenton Police Department shall be issued body armor that they are mandated to wear, but allows for detectives and captains and above assigned to administrative duties to choose not to wear body armor. Since the Chief of Police is an administrative position and clearly a higher rank than a captain, Chief Bevan would be allowed to not wear her department issued body armor. It should be noted that although she believed that she was not required to wear her body armor, Chief Bevan stated that by not wearing her body armor she didn’t set a good example for her officers.
Based on the policy conflict the allegation against Chief Bevan for not wearing her department issued body armor is hereby EXONERATED. Chief Bevan was made aware of the classification of this investigation and this case is now considered closed.