Palestine Police Chief Andy Harvey may trade the Texas heat for Florida sunshine. Harvey, who has served Palestine for less than two years, is competing against five other candidates to become police chief of Palm Bay, Florida.
This is the second time in the past nine months Harvey, who recently sold his house in town, has been a finalist for a police chief job outside Palestine.
“Whenever he leaves, Palestine has benefited from his tenure here,” Mayor Steve Presley told the Herald-Press Wednesday. “He's moved us forward in community policing, and that's extremely important.”
Palm Bay in southwest Florida has a population of roughly 100,000.
“I'm not unhappy in Palestine,” Harvey, 49, told the Herald-Press last October, before he interviewed for police chief of Pharr, Texas. “I'm not pushing away from Palestine, but pushing towards the future.”
Among Harvey's most visible accomplishments in Palestine: A new fleet-system for police vehicles, the founding of UNIDOS Palestine, a latino-based outreach program; and a cite-and-release program for marijuana offenses of under one ounce.
Additionally, Harvey was appointed to the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force in May of last year. The group consists of roughly 100 police chiefs and sheriffs nationwide who advise the federal administration and Congress on how immigration policies affect local law enforcement and public safety.
Among the other finalists are two command officers from the Palm Bay Police Department: acting Chief Nelson Moya and Commander Tim Zander.
Elia Vazquez, assistant chief for the Tampa Police Department; Captain Jeff Tambasco of the Kissimmee Police Department; and Chief Timothy Sheehan of the Tewksbury Police Department in Massachusetts are also in the running.
Harvey, who earns $105,000 a year as Palestine's police chief, was hired on Aug. 28 of 2017.
The salary for Palm Bay Florida's police chief job has not yet been announced.
Harvey did not return phone calls or texts Wednesday from the Herald-Press seeking comment.