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Public safety director of Port Richey focuses on service
By CAMILLE C. SPENCER
Published May 24, 2007
Mathias J. Brewi took the helm last week as Port Richey's first public safety director, meaning he will oversee the merger of the city's fire and police departments.
Brewi is an Army veteran and former Secret Service supervisor who spent 10 years heading residential security operations for former President Gerald Ford. He retired in October as administrative sergeant at the Jupiter Island Public Safety Department. In his spare time, he likes to serve as a Big Brothers mentor, make fishing rods and etch artwork into fossilized bones.
He talked to the Pasco Times on Monday about what he hopes to accomplish in his new role.
Why come out of retirement to work in Port Richey?
Because of the challenge of unifying the two departments. That intrigued me. And I'm triple certified fire, police and EMT. This is right up my alley. After I retired, I was like, "I'm not ready for this." I feel like I have more to give.
What's your goal as public safety director?
I want to give the people in Port Richey the most for their buck. I want them to look at the police and fire departments and know we'll give them service they can't get elsewhere.
Do you have any role models?
Michael Lofredo, former chief at the Jupiter Island Public Safety Department. I was one of his road patrol sergeants. I liked his management ability and his understanding of personnel. He has a doctorate, and he was one of the reasons I got my (bachelor's) degree. He said, "You have so many credits, why not go back?"
What are your hobbies?
I'm a scrimshander. You use a pen made of carbon carbide steel to etch in ivory. I order fossilized walrus cheekbones, or a woolly mammoth femur bone, to sketch drawings. ... It's a challenge. Once, I saw somebody with a wooden pen, so I made one.
You've worked at various law enforcement agencies over the years, from the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C. to the Palm Springs Police Department in California. What was the proudest moment of your career?
When I got into the Secret Service, where I supervised residential security for President Ford. In the Army, I ended up in Fort Myers, Va., in the Honor Guard, and we did White House ceremonies on the lawn when dignitaries came. I'd talked to the White House policemen, and it intrigued me. ... It seemed like something not everybody was doing at the time. And getting married. That was one of my happiest moments ever.
While you were in the Secret Service, did you ever meet Ford? Do you have any stories to tell about the former president?
Yes, I did (meet him). He and his wife are wonderful people, very nice.