Fla. Chief Says She Won't Beg to Keep Job

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. --

West Palm Beach Police Chief Delsa Bush said she is shocked and disappointed but ready to move on after three out of four mayoral candidates said they would fire her if elected in March.

"I am in no way here today to grovel and beg to keep this position," Bush told reporters during a Friday morning news conference.

Bush has been a police officer for 28 years and is two years away from retirement. She said under her eight-year tenure as chief, crime has fallen by 40 percent.

"This crime index in this city has gone down 40 percent basically during my tenure, and I just can't help but to say that I had something to do with it," Bush said.

Still, she said she was "taken aback" and "totally shocked" after hearing the candidates' statements about her during a Tuesday debate.

The candidates have been highly critical of Bush, but she said that comes with the job.

"I am the chief. I have to keep that out," Bush said. "If I allowed the commissioners to dictate to me what to do and how to do it, then I don't need to be police chief. And, to me, that's called corruption."

WPBF 25 News spoke to the three candidates who said they would fire Bush if elected.

Paula Ryan said she has no personal gripe with Bush, but as mayor she would require all departments to undergo an evaluation and be willing to fire those who didn't measure up.

City Commissioner Jeri Moiuo said she called Bush to apologize, saying she has concerns about Bush's performance but realized it wasn't fair to discuss it openly for the first time.

Fellow Commissioner Molly Douglas said she has respect for the chief but found Bush's refusal to discuss replacing a controversial and multimillion-dollar police radio system unacceptable.

Bush said her initial reaction was to resign, but she said the West Palm Beach Police Department deserves more and needs leadership during a time of budget cuts and tense union negotiations with the city.

As far as future plans, Bush said she has recently received a doctorate in philosophy and has been told she should write a book. She also said she recently received a tentative job offer in Washington, D.C.

Bush said she loves her job, but they don't have to fire her. She said she would leave if asked, but she hopes to stay on long enough to train a new chief.

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