BELLEAIR BEACH - What seems to have been a mystery in the "retirement" of a Belleair Beach police officer has been cleared up by Sheriff Jim Coats.
Coats said last week that narcotics detectives in his department received information that Ron Bouvrette, who had been a member of the Belleair Beach police force, was "dealing in illegal drugs."
"Detectives began an inquiry," Coats said, "and during covert conversations with Bouvrette, Bouvrette clearly indicated he had the connections to illegal drug suppliers."
Coats went on to explain that "After several conversations, but before detectives were able to make a purchase from Bouvrette, he became suspicious of detectives and terminated discussions. There was not sufficient evidence to criminally charge Bouvrette."
Coats said that "during undercover discussions Bouvrette admitted he used illegal drugs." Coats said Reid Silverboard, Belleair Beach city manager, asked his office to do an internal investigation, which was done, and the results of the investigation, Coats said, were turned over to Silverboard.
Silverboard said, "Bouvrette resigned without giving a statement on the allegation to the Sheriff's Internal Affairs officers during their investigation."
Bouvrette was one of two officers to leave the Belleair Beach force which is being disbanded. The City Council is currently in the process of choosing a new agency to provide police service.
Although Belleair has made a bid, the choice will almost certainly go to the Sheriff's Office which will give the sheriff continuous immediate jurisdiction from Indian Rocks Beach through Belleair Beach and Belleair Shore up to and including Belleair Bluffs.
Because of the contiguous and compact nature of the area, Indian Rocks Beach has already sought a reduction in its contract with the Sheriff's Office.
The other case in Belleair Beach involved Officer Kevin Mowrer who was fired by Silverboard for "several incidents, that when taken together, have led me to conclude that the continued employment of Officer Mowrer is not in the best interests of the City of Belleair Beach," Silverboard said.
Silverboard at that time went on to describe a series of incidents that compromised Mowrer's effectiveness that have already been reported.