Survey Suggests Low Morale Among Bradenton Police

Staff Report
BRADENTON — According to a recent union survey, a majority of officers in the Bradenton Police Department are unhappy with its leadership and have complaints about working conditions.

The Florida Police Benevolent Association was recently asked by its Southwest Florida PBA Chapter to conduct a survey of the officer members of the Bradenton Police Department. On March 17, 2022, the union says surveys were sent to 102 PBA member officers within the BPD. Approximately 56 percent of the surveys were returned before the deadline with results suggesting that there appear to be internal problems within the department.

Major findings included:
  • 100% feel the salary is fair to poor
  • 96% feel morale is low or very low
  • 88% feel there is favoritism in the Department
  • 88% think information sharing is fair or poor
  • 84% feel promotional opportunities are fair or poor
  • 84% believe personnel rules and regulations are not applied equally
  • 81 % feel the disciplinary actions by the Department are not fair and commensurate with the complaint/violation
  • 79% think grievances cannot be filed without repercussions from management
  • 77% feel favoritism is shown in the promotional process
  • 74% think that the administration does not look out for the best interests of the employees
  • 72% believe the in-service training is fair or poor
  • 67% believe the field training of new officers is fair or poor
The FPBA does not recommend plans of action based on the survey, but said it was able to "conclude that there is a serious morale problem within the department" and that "the low morale seems to originate from low salaries; favoritism within the police department and with the promotional process," while the "surveyed majority also believe personnel rules and regulations are not applied equally, and the written comments reflect a general disdain for Chief Melanie Bevan and her administration."

Firing Bevan was the most common suggestion made by survey respondents, in terms of fixing the problems within the department.

At last Wednesday's Bradenton City Council meeting, Mayor Gene Brown said that he had full faith in Chief Bevan and her department. City Administrator Rob Perry suggested that the survey was tactical and had to do with the ongoing contract negotiations between the city and the police union.

Bradenton City Councilman Bill Sanders, who raised the issue at the meeting, disagrees.

"This isn't about a union negotiation," Sanders told TBT. "This is about a culture of cronyism and favoritism within the department. This is about officers feeling that there are different sets of rules for different people and that if they're not in the right group and make a complaint, they'll be retaliated against. When you've got 20-year employees saying that things are so bad they don't want to come to work, that's a real problem."

Click here to read the survey summary in full. 

Reader Comments
Nikki Velazquez
JUN 23, 2022  •  The mayor's response is disappointing. I guess nothing will change, then they'll wonder why they lose good employees.
Ron Smith
JUN 22, 2022  •  Most issues an easy fix by good leadership. I viewed my positions as Chief, as the head of a large family. I wanted all employees to be smarter, better trained, better paid and safer than I was during my career. Treat your employees right, then you can expect them to treat the public right. After a few months the public will see the improvements, then I have results to show administration that a salary increase has been earned. With a good leader, a union doesn’t have much to do, which should be a unions ultimate goal.
David Levin
JUN 22, 2022  •  Send Perry back to Albuquerque and Bevan back to St. Pete. It’s tactical—like garbage and recycling—the buck stops nowhere in Bradenton. She’ll probably get a raise. Side note: same or similar uniforms to NYC, LA, DC and Chicago. Is that who we want to be like? Too bad Bradenton isn’t a funeral home, then maybe Brown could run it—probably not tho—you know the 3rd generation usually ruins the first two’s hard work. He should go cut another ribbon.