Commission OKs negotiations with Sheriff over Port policing

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey says he can save port $1 million

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Port commissioners voted 3-2 Wednesday to enter into negotiations with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office to take over the Port Canaveral Police Department.

The vote went against the recommendation of Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Walsh. Walsh recommended that the port revamp its police department with new management, but not go with the merger with the Sheriff's Office, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

Commission Chairman Tom Weinberg and Commissioners Bruce Deardoff and Frank Sullivan voted in favor of Sheriff Wayne Ivey taking over the police department.

Commission Vice Chair Jerry Allender and Commissioner John "Hank" Evans voted against.

Contract negotiations will begin with a target date of Oct. 1 for the merger to take effect.

In the interim, Walsh said he has named Eddie Sinclair as the port's senior director of security. He previously was port's facilities securities director.

Current Port Canaveral Police Chief Joe Hellebrand will report to Sinclair.

Ivey says he can save Port Canaveral more than $1 million next year.

Ivey said cost savings would come from a variety of areas, including "elimination of redundant supervisory and support positions." He said there also would be reduced costs of equipment, technology support, maintenance, insurance, pension and human resources.

He said the port's proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 for police and public safety services will be about $6.34 million, which includes costs for fuel, insurance, and vehicle and boat maintenance.

Ivey said he can do the work for $4.85 million, although he expects a one-time expense of about $150,000 to address costs associated with the transition.

The Port Canaveral Police Department currently has 30 sworn officers providing law enforcement services and 44 other staff members providing cargo security, badging, sports services and dispatch, according to Ivey's report.

In addition to the cost savings, Ivey said the transition would benefit the port by giving it access to Brevard County Sheriff's Office resources. The port also will have the ability to "return to the primary mission of business development and the projection of strong economic growth opportunities in all four business lines — cargo, cruise, real estate and recreation."

The Sheriff's Office currently oversees law enforcement and public safety services for unincorporated Brevard, as well as for Cape Canaveral, Grant-Valkaria and Malabar, with a staff of about 900 sworn officers and 300 civilians.

The Sheriff's Office in October also will take over operation of Brevard County Animal Services and Enforcement Department.

Port commissioners in 2008 approved creating the Port Canaveral Police Department, which began operations the following year.

Prior to that, Port Canaveral safety and security encompassed a variety of contracts. The Brevard County Sheriff's Office handled law enforcement, off-duty deputies handled cruise terminal security, a private security company handled cargo terminal security, and off-duty Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers handled harbor patrols.?

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