The Vines ChapterBy Times staff reports
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 19, 2001
Mack Vines first served as St. Petersburg police chief from 1974 to 1980. His second tour as chief ended Tuesday after 74 days:
JUNE: Vines, asked by Mayor Rick Baker to interview residents about the qualities they want in the next police chief, submits his own resume.
JULY: Baker announces four finalists for the job out of 117 applicants. One of them is Vines.
SEPT. 7: Baker announces that Vines will be the police chief and succeed Goliath Davis III. Says Baker: "It was a gut feeling as to who I felt would best serve our city as police chief and make it a safer place."
OCT. 5: Vines officially becomes police chief.
DEC. 4: During a meeting with about 40 detectives, Vines likened the actions of an arrested black man to an orangutan. That night, he meets with the Citizens United for Shared Prosperity, a group led by Omali Yeshitela, and asks for their trust.
DEC. 10: First Deputy Mayor Tish Elston receives an anonymous telephone call about Vines' remark.
DEC. 11: Vines asks former police Chief Davis, the city's first black chief and now deputy mayor of Midtown economic development, to meet with several high-ranking black officers.
DEC. 11: Vines meets at City Hall with Baker, Elston and Gary Cornwell, the city's employee relations manager. The chief is told the circumstances regarding his remark will be investigated.
DEC. 12: Vines apologizes to his staff for the comment.
DEC. 13, 14: City officials begin interviewing officers who heard Vines' remark.
DEC. 15: Baker says the investigation will widen to cover Vines' handling of discipline cases and the tenor of the department.
DEC. 16: Vines, in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, says he wasn't able to hit the ground running: "I haven't even found the ground yet. It's been constantly putting out fires."
DEC. 17: Vines and Elston spend hours going over police department discipline reports. Elston writes a memo to Baker outlining her findings.
DEC. 18: Baker announces he is firing Vines and names Chuck Harmon, the assistant chief of patrol, as the new police chief. Harmon was one of four finalists when Vines was selected.
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Adam C. Smith