Tallahassee officially welcomed its new police chief Wednesday. Dennis Jones was sworn in during an afternoon ceremony at City Hall.
Interim Chief John Proctor handed over the Tallahassee Police Department flag to its new leader, 25-year law enforcement veteran Dennis Jones.
"I think we have a very professional organization. I intend to continue with that professionalism and even make it better. That's my challenge is to take a great department and make it an excellent department," Jones said.
Jones is only the second chief selected from outside the TPD ranks. The former Daytona Beach chief was chosen from among dozens of applicants and ten finalists.
"He had many, many assets, and so did a lot of our candidates, but he stood out," said the woman who hired him, City Manager Anita Favors.
"He brings a new perspective," said Tallahassee Mayor John Marks. "I don't think there are going to be very many changes, but it's going to be a fresh start."
Jones takes over as chief at a critical time. State budget cuts are looming due to pending property tax reforms. Jones says leaders at TPD are already preparing for the possibility of a 10 percent budget cut, but will have to wait to see what lawmakers decide in an upcoming special session.
Contract talks with the officers union are also hinging on that legislative action.
"We are currently in negotiations now for 2007 to 2010. Chief Jones and the city staff, the city staff is getting him up to speed on negotiations," said PBA representative Steven Slade.
Jones's wife and two daughters were on hand for the swearing in. His wife Cindy pinned on his new badge.
It comes with more than 500 employees and a $45 million budget. He'll earn $117,000 a year.