Indian Shores appoints new police chief

Town attorney Regina Kardash swears in Raimondo DeCunto as the new chief of police of Indian Shores on Dec. 11 while councilors look on. DeCunto resigned from his post less than a month after being sworn in rather than be subject to an internal investigation.

INDIAN SHORES – The Town Council on Dec. 11 unanimously agreed to appoint Capt. Raimondo DeCunto police chief.

Interim Police Chief E.D. Williams recommended that Captain Raimondo DeCunto be appointed to the position.

Williams has been serving as interim police chief since mid-September when Chief Terry Hughes resigned due to health reasons. In addition to evaluating Indian Shores Police Department operations, organization, staffing, efficiency and current fiscal year’s budget, Williams was responsible for the selection process of hiring a permanent police chief prior to the end of his interim service scheduled for Dec. 31. At the conclusion of his selection process for a new chief of police, Williams chose DeCunto.

DeCunto is a certified law enforcement officer with over 30 years’ experience protecting and serving in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. A graduate of Tampa College, DeCunto has a bachelor of arts in business administration. Since 2017 DeCunto has been on the town’s police forces as a captain, leading and managing patrol operations, investigations unit, and the training division as well as acting as chief of police in the chief’s absence.

With a comprehensive law enforcement background that includes working divisions such as narcotics, SWAT, patrol, training, and community policing, DeCunto has received several professional awards, meritorious citations, commendations for heroism, and letters of appreciation from both supervisors and citizens alike.

“It was a unanimous recommendation from the members of the (Indian Shores) Police Department to promote the new police chief from within the ranks,” said Williams. After the Town Council appointed DeCunto as the new chief of police, Town Attorney Regina Kardash swore him in during the meeting. The Town Council approved an annual starting salary for the new chief of police at $90,000.

Alcohol ordinance approved on second reading

An alcohol ordinance was approved on its second and final reading. The ordinance allows serving alcohol on Sunday mornings in the town three hours earlier than before. Mayor Pat Soranno said, “You (citizens) may start having your mimosas and bloody Mary’s at 8 a.m. versus 11 a.m. on Sundays.”

Provisions authorized for part-time permanent Public Services employees

Part-time permanent Public Services employees who have served a minimum of 90 days will now receive a $125 per fiscal year boot allowance. This is half the allowance given to full time Public Services employees.

Additionally, uniforms that match the full time employees’ uniforms will be provided at a combined cost of approximately $1,800 per year for the two permanent part-time Public Services employees.

These requests were submitted by Town Administrator Bonnie Dhonau and unanimously approved by the Town Council.

“I believe these costs may be absorbed by the department’s budget and would help further the look of a more cohesive team,” said Dhonau in her Dec. 5 memorandum.

Special events permit approved

A special events permit for the Prest-Hanna wedding on Friday, April 19, at the beach access across from 19305 Gulf Blvd. was approved. The permit is effective from 4:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. that day.