Less than a year since he started in his position as the chief of West Palm Beach Police, Vincent Demasi has applied for the chief’s job at his former department in Cincinnati.
“It would be going from a mailperson to CEO of the company,” he said. “It’s a dream job for me. It’s an opportunity to do something that I’ve always wanted to do.”
Demasi was joined by city spokesman Elliot Cohen at a press conference called late this afternoon at police headquarters addressing the application.
The chief said he completed the process today and had not yet told rank-and-file officers, although he did notify Mayor Jeri Muoio and the city manager. He said speaking about the application was “premature” and said didn’t know if he’d even reach the interview stage.
Demasi spent 37 years at the Cincinnati department, starting as a cadet. The department is about three times the size of West Palm Beach. The pay would be around the same amount that he is getting paid today, which is about $140,000. He said he heard about the job opportunity with the International Association of Chiefs of Police sent out a posting.
In addition to wanting to be the chief of the department he’s “grown up in”, Demasi said he also applied for the job to be closer to his family.
He’s away from his 85-year-old father, who is ill, and his children.
“When you get away from them for a while you really miss them,” he said. “And I miss them.”
Still, the decision was a hard one.
“I’m very conflicted about it. I love West Palm Beach,” he said. “I’m very committed to the people of West Palm Beach. We will continue to do the absolute best job we can.”
In June 2012, Demasi, now 56, retired as an assistant police chief in Cincinnati and was hired by Muoio, following a national search. He started in August. He does not have a contract, and is free to leave when he chooses.
When Muoio ran for mayor in 2011, she had cited low morale in the police department as a reason to replace Chief Delsa Bush. Bush resigned in October 2011 after a public spat with the mayor over a police radio system that Bush advocated but Muoio did not support.
Demasi was hired at $140,000 a year, about $14,000 less than Bush was earning. He was the first outsider to run the West Palm Beach department since Billy Riggs was hired from Miami 25 years earlier.
On May 14, Cincinnati chief James E. Craig — chief only since July 2011 — said he was resigning to return to his hometown of Detroit.
Demasi had been a finalist for Cincinnati police chief in 2009 and chief of University of Cincinnati police in 2010.
City spokesman Elliot Cohen said the chief’s application isn’t affecting the city, which continues to function “business as usual.”
“We hope he stays,” Cohen said.