St. Augustine Beach police chief retires

Retirement comes amid FDLE investigation into department

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. - St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Richard Hedges retired Monday amid an investigation into his department.

Hedges, who's been police chief for nine years and in law enforcement for 38 years, was placed on paid administrative leave May 15 pending the outcome of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.

In a letter to the mayor and city commissioners announcing his retirement, Hedges wrote he "was contemplating retiring next year. However, I have decided to retire now to allow our town to move forward and focus on the future."

READ LETTER: Richard Hedges announces retirement

Last month, the St. Augustine Beach commissioners voted unanimously to suspend Hedges and called for FDLE to investigate dozens of accusations against him.

Hedges, 57, was suspended with pay while allegations outlined in a 72-page report by 10 of his departments' 14 officers were investigated.

A document outlines "trivial, isolated incidents to major incidents" committed by Hedges, including lying, misplacing guns and evidence, lacking leadership and even drinking in uniform.

The report claims incidents of fraternization, favoritism, unethical behavior, lack of communication, lack of leadership, failure of discipline for sexual harassment, failure to collect evidence in a rape case, taking an SUV of a man who'd committed suicide, and at least seven handguns and a $1,500 bicycle missing.

The assistant police chief, Daniel Decoursey, and the city's former mayor, Frank Charles, were also named in the complaint that alleges immoral, unethical and illegal acts.

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