By Tao Woolfe
Staff changes continued their whirlwind pace in Boynton Beach as interim Police Chief Vanessa Snow resigned from the department in May and was replaced as interim chief by Assistant Chief Joseph DeGiulio.
A news release from the city announcing Snow’s departure said the city was “grateful for interim Chief Snow’s commitment and service throughout the years, and we wish her much success in her future endeavors.”
No reason was given by the city for Snow’s resignation, but she and former Police Chief Michael Gregory — who left the city in April — had served during the turmoil following the death of 13-year-old Stanley Davis III last December.
The boy crashed his dirt bike into a median on Federal Highway on Dec. 26 while being pursued by Boynton Beach Police Officer Mark Sohn in his patrol car.
Representatives of the Black community continue to ask the city to fire Sohn. He is the subject of an internal Police Department probe into Davis’ death.
Sohn was cleared of all charges in late March by a Florida Highway Patrol investigation. FHP concluded Davis was unlawfully fleeing an attempted traffic stop and going 85 mph in a 35-mph zone.
Fallout from the incident — as well frustration over the city’s role in the stalled Town Square downtown development — led the commission to fire longtime City Manager Lori LaVerriere in late April.
DeGiulio has served the Boynton Beach Police Depart-ment in various capacities since joining the force as a police officer in 2001. Since then he has served 10 years as a command officer, rising through the ranks as a sergeant, lieutenant, captain and assistant chief.
He recently applied for the interim city manager’s position, but the commission appointed Fire Chief James Stables to that post on April 25.
In his application letter to the commission for the interim city manager’s job, DeGiulio said he could help build rapport between the Police Department and the community.
“Throughout my years of service my goal has always been to improve relationships with the community and the Police Department with effective leadership and innovation,” DeGiulio wrote.
Those skills will be put to the test as the city looks at whether a merger with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office would benefit the city. Many residents have said they would rather reform the city’s Police Department than replace it with the PBSO.
“I look forward to working closely with interim Chief DeGiulio, who will serve as a key member of the city’s executive team and assure the community a seamless transition of leadership in the Police Department,” Stables said in a prepared statement.
DeGiulio received his master’s degree in leadership from Palm Beach Atlantic University, and a bachelor of science degree in police studies from John Jay College in New York.
He served as a police officer in New York from 1998 to 2001.
The city will also be losing popular City Clerk Crystal Gibson, who is leaving to care full-time for her family.
Asked if she’s looking forward to a less stressful job, Gibson laughed.
“There’s no such thing as a stress-free job,” she said. “There are just different kinds of stresses.”