Vice Mayor Diantha Schear and Councilor Bill Smith

Vice Mayor Diantha Schear and Councilor Bill Smith feed each other cake as Mayor Pat Soranno looks on at the reception celebrating the councilors’ re-election installation at the 3-26-19 Indian Shores meeting.

INDIAN SHORES — Richard H. Swann was sworn in as the new police chief at the March 26 Town Council meeting.

This makes Swann the third chief of police for the town in the last six months. With unexpected resignations, former Chief of Police E.D. Williams filled in twice as interim police chief.

Of the 31 applicants who vied for the position, Swann was one of the final four who interviewed for the job. Swann cleared all the hurdles necessary to acquire the position, including a newly added requirement of an evaluation by a licensed behavior psychologist attached to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Swan, a second-generation law enforcement officer, has 40 years of command experience according to his resume. Twenty-seven years of that experience is with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney’s Office as well as 18 years of reserve service with the Indian Shores Police Department.

“I have known (Interim Police Chief) E.D. Williams for many years and know the integrity he has brought to the office of chief of police,” said Swann. “I hope to continue that.”

After Swann was sworn in, Williams was recognized for his leadership and service during the town’s recent upheaval in its Police Department. The Town Council presented Williams with a crystal decanter engraved with a message of thanks.

Williams was chief of police for the town of Indian Shores for 26 years before he retired in 2014. Mayor Patrick Soranno commended Williams for his dedication in coming out of retirement to aid the town in its hour of need.

In other town matters

• Councilors Diantha Schear and William F. Smith each took the oath of office for another 3-year term. Both ran unopposed.

Smith has been serving as a councilor since 2001 and is the longest serving councilor presently on the council. Schear has served as a councilor since 2015 and was re-elected to the position of vice mayor by the Town Council during the meeting. Both Smith and Schear originally were appointees following the resignations of their predecessors on the council.

Once the new Town Council was installed, committee assignments for 2019-2020 were approved. Each of the councilors serves on several committees along with citizen representatives.

Janet L. McKee is the citizen member and Neil Rode is the citizen alternate on the public services committee. Art Newsome is the citizen member and John Caruso is the citizen alternate on the administrative and finance committee. Candis Rinker is the citizen member and Anne Miller, Carole Irelan and Mark Housman are the alternate citizen members of the planning, zoning and building committee.

• Fire ordinance passes on first reading.

A new fire protection ordinance dealing with fire protection and prevention passed unanimously on its first reading. The ordinance removes provisions in the existing code allowing for contained fires and grills on the beach.