Interviews Begin For New Tallahassee Police Chief

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By: Lanetra Bennett
November 8, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Applicants hoping to fill the position of Tallahassee's police chief had a whole day of interviews Friday.

The finalists that make it past this cut will face a committee of Tallahassee residents.

Tallahassee city administrators say 57 people applied to be the police chief, 36 were "very qualified".

The seven candidates narrowed down from that list interviewed behind closed doors with city and police department higher-ups at City Hall Friday.

Next, they'll have to face the citizens committee.

Attorney Mutaqee Akbar is one of the 12 community members chosen by the city manager to help chose the next police chief. He says, "The main thing for me is seeing somebody that's community oriented. I think it comes natural to anybody that's in law enforcement to protect. But, I think to serve part of that is very important; to be a part of the community. Tallahassee has changed a lot over the years as far as we went from being a small college town to growing into almost like a metropolitan city."

Dennis Jones resigned as chief in September amid the controversy of two officers being accused of brutally beating a woman during a DUI arrest.

Raoul Lavin with the Tallahassee Department of Management and Administration, says there is no set timeline to fill Jones' place.

He says, "We have a very competent person in the interim position right now in Tom Coe. The manager is trying to get this position filled. But, we're going to make sure that we get the most qualified and the best candidate for the police chief for the community."

Three candidates are local. They are TPD Major Lewis Johnson, TPD Major Chris Connell, and Florida's Deputy Chief Financial Officer Jay Etheridge.

The others are: Michael Deal, Deputy Chief of Police, Altamonte Springs; Michael Deleo, Deputy Chief, Plantation Police Department; Rodney Smith, Deputy Chief of Police, Ocala; and Ruth Wedster, Captain as Executive Officer, Chicago Police Department.

Lavin says the final three or four candidates will interview with city manager Anita Favors next Thursday, and with the citizens committee on Friday. The committee will provide feedback, but, the city manager will have the ultimate decision.

November 8, 2013
By Julie Montanaro

Seven people vying to become Tallahassee's next police chief are being interviewed at Tallahassee City Hall today.

It includes TPD Majors Chris Connell and Lewis Johnson as well as current Deputy Chief Financial Officer Jay Etheridge.

A city spokesman says the top candidates after today's interviews will be interviewed by the city manager next Thursday and by a recently announced citizens committee next Friday.

The candidates being interviewed today are:

Chris Connell, Major, Tallahassee Police Department

Michael Deal, Deputy Chief of Police, Altamonte Springs

Michael Deleo, Deputy Chief, Plantation Police Department

Jay Etheridge, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Florida Department of Financial Services

Lewis Johnson, Major, Tallahassee Police Department

Rodney Smith, Deputy Chief of Police, Ocala

Ruth Wedster, Captain as Executive Officer, Chicago Police Department

Documents released by the city show the salary range for the new chief is between $64,854 and $148,969 a year.

Press Release: City of Tallahassee

The City of Tallahassee will soon begin interviewing candidates to fill the vacant Chief of Police position with the Tallahassee Police Department. As has been the City's tradition in the past, local citizens will be a part of this process.

“The person who fills this position is first and foremost a public servant at the highest level – entrusted with protecting our community," said City Manager Anita Favors Thompson. "It’s important that we get feedback from the community on the individual to best fill this role."

While applications are still being accepted, a screening committee reviewed the initial group of applicants to select candidates for interviews. Once finalized, candidates will be interviewed by two committees - one consisting of Tallahassee Police Department employees and the other consisting of City administrative leaders. Once those two committees have identified the top candidates from the interview process, those candidates will meet with a citizens committee, which will then provide feedback directly to the City Manager.

The 12 people serving on the Citizen Interview Committee are: Mutaqee Akbar, Loranne Ausley, Dr. David Bellamy, Rev. Brant Copeland, Nancy Daniels, Dale Landry, Andrew Mannheimer, Rev. Julius McAllister, Mark Mustian, Leroy Peck, Skip Smith and Brenda Williams.

“The members of the Citizen Interview Committee are a diverse group of individuals who represent our community in this process,” said Favors Thompson. "Their feedback on the top candidates will be an important part of my consideration in choosing our next police chief."

Details on the candidates to be interviewed and interview schedules are still being determined, with the goal of conducting interviews in the next two weeks.

By Julie Montanaro
September 18, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The City of Tallahassee has just posted an ad for a new police chief.

Chief Dennis Jones retired last week just days after a shocking videotape surfaced.

It shows officers subduing 44 year old Christina West during a DUI stop. She ended up in the hospital with a broken cheekbone, bloody nose and a black eye.

The two officers involved are on paid leave while internal affairs is reviewing their use of force.

The city posted an ad for a new police chief today.

The ad says the city is looking for a chief with at least 10 years of law enforcement experience and at least six years of experience at command staff level. It lists pay as between $63,000 and $145,000 a year.

Assistant City Manager Tom Coe will be taking over as interim chief until a new police chief is hired.

Coe will be moving into TPD headquarters tomorrow.

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