Updated:WEST MELBOURNE, Fla.,None —
The West Melbourne City Council voted on Tuesday night to take the next step to fire Police Chief Brian Lock.
Lock is accused of covering up for a former police officer who was caught on video stealing drugs from an evidence room.
"My priority in this crisis was to help a human being, but that does not mean I neglected my duties," said Lock.
Lock's supporters addressed the council and asked that the council allow him to keep his job, but other residents demanded he be fired.
"To sweep it under the carpet, I'm going to fear every day I walk out that door," said George Tilden, a West Melbourne resident.
Council members voted 4 to 3 to move to the next step in the firing process.
Lock is a 31 year veteran of the police department. He denied the cover-up allegations.
An investigation showed Lock did not immediately report when Commander Charles Schrum was caught on video in 2009 stealing drugs.
Shrum went to drug rehabilitation and retired with a $40,000 a year pension. If he had been fired he would not have been eligible for the pension.
The police chief of neighboring Indian Harbour Beach defended Lock's actions.
"Chief Lock hasn't lost any, I repeat any credibility," said Indian Harbour Beach Police Chief Robert Sullivan.
The Council will hold a due process hearing in the next thirty days, which is the next step in firing Lock.