Port Richey Police Chief reflects on career experience; hopes for department

By Tim Wronka, Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, October 08, 2017, 10:04 AM EDT

The Port Richey Police Chief is reflecting on a milestone in his career--but it didn't begin in the Bay area. 

  • Port Richey Police Chief reflects on career milestone
  • Gerar Decanio brought two decades of experience to PD
  • Decanio started at NYPD in 1981
  • Decanio hopes to bring stability to Port Richey PD

Gerar Decanio brought two decades of experience to Port Richey, including time with the NYPD. 

Decanio became a police officer in New York City in 1981. At 64 years old, the former detective is showing no signs of stopping--now bringing nearly 40 years of experience to Port Richey. 

"Only difference between the City of NY and the City of Port Richey is the size and the population. So the problems we have here are smaller than the ones there, but it's just the size," Decanio said.

For instance, homelessness is a similar issue, something he said he is working with the City Code Enforcement to try and fix. 

"If it worked up there, it's got to work here," he said. 

The chief said he certainly could be retired by now. Not only is he working a full time job running the Port Richey Police Department, he sometimes works as a volunteer firefighter. 

"I change uniforms, and go from here to the firehouse," Decanio said. "Then you're there all night?," Decanio was asked. "Yeah, all night. Then go home for a few hours of sleep and go back to the PD in the morning," he answered. "Just have to make sure I don't wear the wrong uniforms to the wrong place, that's all," Decanio said with a laugh. 

Decanio said he does it to give back to the community. In fact, community policing is a major strategy he uses as chief in addition to an open door policy with his officers. 

"It's just something I like to do. And it's just giving back a bit to the community," he said. 

Decanio is the third chief in the last four years in Port Richey. He is hoping his time as chief will bring more stability to the department.