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Second-highest Brooksville police officer retiring

Capt. Terry Chapman, who was shot two years ago, is leaving the department. He gave no reason in his letter of resignation.

By JAMIE MALERNEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 21, 2000


BROOKSVILLE -- After 15 years of service, Capt. Terry Chapman is retiring from the Brooksville Police Department.

Police Chief Ed Tincher said that his second-in-command, who plans to open a private investigation business in town, will be missed. Chapman now is on medical leave and his retirement is effective July 5.

"We're sad that he has to leave. Our only hopes are for him to do things that are best for him and his family," Tincher said. "He has been a great part of this organization for a number of years and we've relied on him extensively."

Chapman could not be reached for comment Tuesday and he listed no reason for his retirement in a letter he gave Tincher on Monday. The letter is two sentences long and states only that he has filed for an "in-line disability retirement."

Tincher declined to discuss why Chapman, 39, decided to retire, other than to say that the disability mentioned in Chapman's letter referred to when Chapman was shot in the torso during an incident two years ago.

Three men -- Charles Waddy, Lavar Delaine and Terrance Holland -- originally were charged in the shooting, which occurred outside Brook Villas Apartments in southeast Brooksville on Feb. 27, 1998. Authorities said the men had gone to the apartments to ambush a man named Brock Shade, whom Holland thought had tried to shoot his brother earlier that day. That night, Chapman was holding a flashlight so Shade could change a tire. When Shade stood up, several shots were fired from the woods at least 270 feet away and a bullet struck Chapman below the right armpit.

Charges eventually were dropped against Delaine because of a lack of evidence, and Holland spent fewer than 10 months in jail after being convicted of two misdemeanor counts of culpable negligence. Waddy received the stiffest sentence, 10 years, after a jury convicted him on two counts of attempted manslaughter.

Chapman still has the bullet in his torso and he has complained in the past of continuing pain. After Waddy was convicted, Chapman stated that the incident had changed his life but that he would move on.

Tincher said Chapman served with distinction before and after the shooting. He said there were no problems between him and Chapman.

Some questioned how Chapman and Tincher's relationship would fare after Tincher was fired from his job as chief in May 1994, then reinstated after a public backlash. In the months before the reinstatement, Chapman served as acting chief. He returned to the position of captain when Tincher was reinstated.

Mayor Mary Staib said Tuesday that the department put those troubles behind it long ago. She added that she was surprised and saddened by Chapman's departure.

"He's a fine man, and it's really our loss," she said. "He's going to be hard to replace. He was just always on the job. A very pleasant, very courteous man."

Brooksville police Detective Ron Woods agreed.

"I've worked with him for seven years, side by side, on a lot of cases," Woods said. "I'm sad to see him go."

City Council member Joe Johnston III said he thought Chapman's retirement was at least partly due to physical difficulties caused by the shooting. He also said Chapman would be missed.

"You're always sorry to lose someone with that kind of experience in your department," Johnston said. "It's obvious that he had done the time here and seemed dedicated."

Tincher said he had known for some time that Chapman was planning to retire. The chief said he still is in discussions with the city manager about how the department will deal with the loss. As captain, Chapman's duties largely were administrative. According to his job description, Chapman supervised employees and their job preformance, reviewed crime reports, developed proposed changes in operating procedures and handled cases that were particularly high-profile or sensitive. He made $43,971 annually.

Tincher said he has not ruled out hiring a replacement for Chapman's position, but added that he is leaning toward other alternatives.

"We are looking at some reorganization within the department, some reassignment of duties," Tincher said. "There will be more work falling on my shoulders and on other people."

-- Staff writer Dan DeWitt contributed to this report.

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