At the end of a council meeting last night, City Manager Debbie Manns announced that New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart is retiring, and Jan. 27 is his last day.
Manns said that Bogart submitted his resignation letter on Dec. 30, 2022. She thanked him and congratulated him on his 10 years of service, and said that she still expected him to be active in the city during his retirement.
"His inspiration to the people will certainly cause a sense of loss among all of us," Manns said.
Bogart was present at the meeting, but did not speak. When contacted today by CL, Bogart answered the phone, but hung up when asked for comment on why exactly he’s retiring. Manns also did not respond to a request for additional comment today.
Since 2020, several of the officers at NPRPD have come under scrutiny for participating in racist and anti-Semitic behavior.
As Creative Loafing Tampa Bay previously reported, NPRPD cops have prayed with Proud Boys, posed in front of a Confederate flag, leaked department intel to an armed right-wing vigilante and falsely accused a Black man of a felony, among other incidents.
Last month, just 14 days before he submitted his resignation letter, CL reported that Bogart stood before council, read out the laundry list of problem officers who had made headlines, and defended all of them.
He also stood up for officer Todd Gee, who broke into a Jewish woman’s home over alleged code enforcement issues and made jokes about Holocaust victim Anne Frank as another officer laughed. Bogart said that the officers, whose behavior was caught on body camera, “were not intending to have any anti-Semitism related to that incident.”
He did add, however, that the officers would go through extra cultural sensitivity training, and provided documents to CL, which seem to show that they completed the training.
“It’s very regrettable that it ever occurred,” City Manager Manns told CL at the time. “I think the comments were inappropriate and I believe discipline was necessary for the officers, and I stand by that decision.”
But those officers never actually received official discipline for the behavior, and instead just went through extra training. To that point, Manns said, “we’re going to stand by the decision that was made at the time.”
“Even the officer who makes the comment knows he probably shouldn't make it because he starts whispering it,” Ellis said. “And the other officer puts her hands over her face indicating that she can’t believe he just said that. The officers themselves seem to know that it was an improper comment.”
Ellis said that Bogart’s defense of the officers was “a failure to recognize” the real problems in the department.
“Sometimes these things are isolated incidents,” Ellis added. “But when you start to look at the other problems that have been reported, it seems to be that it’s a situation that the police department keeps dealing with.”
“You seem to have a chief that, rather than saying, ‘Look, we've got a problem’, instead jumps in to defend these officers,” Ellis said. “When in reality, you should be looking at the problems in the organization, asking, ‘What do I need to do?’ If it’s not being addressed from the top, it’s never going to get better.”
Manns has yet to announce how New Port Richey will conduct a search for its next police chief.