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City Manager Hires New TPD Chief

By: Julie Montanaro, James Buechele, Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Julie Montanaro, James Buechele, Lanetra Bennett Email
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By: Lanetra Bennett
December 3, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - A new chief will soon lead the Tallahassee Police Department, and he'll be coming from 450 miles away.

Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors Thompson says DeLeo's values and enthusiasm are what stood out during the three separate interview processes, and landed him as Tallahassee's new police chief.

Favors Thompson says, "We were looking for a person with demonstrated community skills and abilities; someone who has a strong managerial history; someone who can even give us some help with some of our polices and processes. And he fits the bill."

Forty-one-year-old DeLeo has been the Deputy Chief at the Plantation Florida Police Department for four years, and with the department 19 total.

In a phone interview Tuesday, DeLeo says, "I'm very excited about the opportunity. Tallahassee's a great community. It's a very good police department with a rich tradition and legacy of service. I'm looking forward to being a part of that."

DeLeo was chosen over in-house candidates Chris Connell and Lewis Johnson.

"I did not make any conscience decision not to hire internally. Says, Favors Thompson.

DeLeo says he'll deal with issues head-on, such as the police brutality allegations from a woman arrested in August; and questions surrounding TPD's handling of the sexual assault investigation involving FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston.

He says, "Once I get there, we're going to take a look at the way that we conduct business and make sure that not only our actions are legal and meet the professional standards that they should, but, that they're reflective of the community's values."

DeLeo starts January 6th at a salary of $120,000 a year.

Officers were informed of the decision this morning by email. Dee Crumpler says they're trying to arrange a meet and greet in Tallahassee next week.


PBA Welcomes New Police Chief

Tallahassee: On behalf of the Big Bend Chapter of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, we are excited by the selection of Michael DeLeo as Tallahassee Police Department’s new chief. His credentials and experience are a great fit for our agency and our community.

“We are confident that from day one, he will immediately see the professionalism, experience and integrity of the police officers who proudly serve the city of Tallahassee,” said Big Bend PBA President Steve Slade. “We congratulate Chief DeLeo and we look forward to working with him.”


News Release: City of Tallahassee

Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors Thompson today announced the hiring of two individuals to fill key positions within the City of Tallahassee – Human Resources Manager and Chief of Police.

"We have a history of hiring experienced, outstanding, ethical leaders with a focus on service," said Favors Thompson. "These new leaders continue that tradition, and I am confident they will help us in our ongoing mission to be the best local government in the nation."

Ellen Blair is the City's new Human Resources Manager. Blair has more than 20 years of management experience in Human Resources, most recently serving as Chief of Talent Management for the City of Jacksonville. Her work history includes labor relations, staff recruitment, benefit administration, collective bargaining agreement negotiations, employee training and personnel policy development to ensure compliance with federal and state statues, among other duties and accomplishments.

Blair earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration, both in Human Resources, from Thomas College in Waterville, Maine. She also maintains several certifications in the field of Human Resources. She assumes her position with the City of Tallahassee on December 9.

The Human Resources Department for the City of Tallahassee provides services that support City operations and address the workplace needs of approximately 2,800 employees. Blair will manage a $3 million budget and direct 29 employees.

Michael DeLeo is the new Chief of Police for the Tallahassee Police Department. DeLeo has worked in law enforcement for 19 years with the Plantation Police Department in Plantation, Fla. He currently serves as Deputy Chief, second in command for the department, in charge of day-to-day operations of a department with 325 employees and a $36 million budget. He worked his way up the ranks from patrol officer and has demonstrated a commitment to professionalism through graduation from the FBI National Academy, obtaining a law degree and helping lead a progressive police department. He has a strong family history of law enforcement service, with his father, grandfather, great-grandfather and siblings involved in public safety.

DeLeo earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Florida, a Master of Science in Public Management from St. Thomas University and a Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University. Additionally, he has served as an adjunct faculty member since 2005 at Broward College facilitating classes for both general college and Police Academy students.

DeLeo will direct a staff of 423 employees and maintain responsibility for a budget of $48 million. His first day as Tallahassee's Police Chief will be Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.

"I'd like to personally thank the citizens who have been involved in our hiring processes for these critical positions," said Favors Thompson. "Their thoughtful feedback was an important part of my decision making process, and I believe Chief DeLeo and Ms. Blair will quickly demonstrate their commitment and expertise in serving our community."

An announcement on the director of the Consolidated Dispatch Agency (a position reporting to the City Manager, County Administrator and Sheriff) and an announcement on the new Tallahassee Fire Chief are anticipated to take place in the next week.


By: James Buechele
November 15, 2013
6:10 p.m.

Five candidates for Tallahassee police chief were interviewed by a panel of 12 citizens Friday at city hall in the Capital City.

One of the big issues: TPD's image.

"If we're going to make an impact on any community and just not Tallahassee any community that we have to make sure that our dreams our goals and our objectives are pushed down throughout the department," said Ocala Deputy Chief of Police Rodney Smith.

"Additional oversight and checks and balances on operational plans," added TPD Maj. Chris Connell.

Other candidates spoke about regaining the public's trust.

"There's no reason to hide things you know, said Plantation Deputy Chief of Police Michael DeLeo. "Be open. Be transparent. You have a question, come ask it. You're going to get the answer. If there's an issue, we need to fix."

"One of the most important keys in the whole accountability is the line of supervisors," said Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Florida Jay Etheridge.

"One of the things, that I bring to the table, as a chief, is that it would be my job to restore that trust to bring that trust back," said TPD Maj. Lewis Johnson.

The committee then met with city manager Anita Favors in closed session to make recommendations moving forward. It will be Favors decision to make. That hire won't happen for at least a couple of weeks. We'll have that information as soon as it becomes available.


By Julie Montanaro
November 15, 2013, 9:45am

A citizens committee is now interviewing candidates for Tallahassee Police Chief at City Hall.

The five remaining finalists will each have 45 minutes to answer questions. The committee will then have 40 minutes to discuss the candidates and brief the city manager by the end if the day.

MAJ Chris Connell is the first candidate to be interviewed. He is a 27 year veteran at TPD. MAJ Lewis Johnson will be interviewed at 11:45. They are the two in house candidates in the running for the job.

Here is the schedule for interviews:
Chris Connell 9:30am
Rodney Smith 10:15am
Michael DeLeo 11:00am
Lewis Johnson 11:45am
Jay Etheridge 1:15pm

We'll give you an inside look at the interviews tonight on Eyewitness News.


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