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Embattled Neptune Beach police chief retires

Neptune Beach Chief David Sembach
Neptune Beach Chief David Sembach

NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. – Neptune Beach Police Chief David Sembach, who was at odds with other city officials for the last few months, submitted his letter of retirement Tuesday.

Sembach, who had held the position for 10 years, was placed on leave and asked to retire. He had previously worked 36 years with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

In a statement, Neptune Beach City Manager Andy Hyatt said he accepted Sembach's resignation and, along with the Neptune Beach City Council, thanked him "for his years of dedicated service."

His retirement is effective Wednesday.

Hyatt named Assistant Chief Tony Carrillo interim chief while the city conducts a search to hire a new police chief.

The request for Sembach's retirement came months after City Clerk Karla Strait filed a complaint against Sembach on July 31, and Mayor Harriett Pruette told Sembach to stay away from city hall unless his presence was requested at a city council meeting.

Sembach confirmed to News4Jax that he has been asked to retire, but said he had no other comment.

The city manager said Sembach is currently on administrative leave and that assistant chief Tony Carrillo is the acting chief.

In July, Pruette publicly criticized Sembach for not telling the City Council the full scope of the controversy over a breach of peace citation given to Lane Pittman after he played the national anthem on his electric guitar on a crowded city street during a 4th of July celebration.