By: Lanetra Bennett
September 13, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - The head of the Tallahassee Police Department announces plans to retire early.
Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones says he turned in his letter of retirement to the city manager around 2:00 Friday afternoon; and by 3:00, he was announcing it to Eyewitness News.
This comes in the middle of an investigation into accusations of officers using excessive force while arresting a 44-year-old woman.
"After 35 years almost in the business, I decided that it's time for me to move on." Chief Jones says.
Surrounded by Tallahassee Police officers and staff, Chief Dennis Jones announced his retirement Friday afternoon.
He says, "It was tough because it's hard to leave a career; hard to leave these guys."
Chief Jones says he's retiring now, instead of as planned in 2014, because of personal reasons--not because the department is being investigated for using excessive force.
Two officers were placed on leave this week after this dashcam video of a DUI arrest went viral.
Chief Jones says, "I've been thinking of retirement way before this. That may be unfortunate timing on my part. But, it's just best at this point and time for me to leave at this time. I think that once the investigation is out and all facts are known, I think that we'll be good with that, too. But, that's not why I'm retiring."
Tallahassee resident Jason Davis says, "The blame is going to go on him anyway, no matter what. I don't think I'd leave I'd stay and fight. Push come to shove, I would take the out. I would take the out. They'll probably give him a pay to get out."
The chief's retirement is effective October 5th.
Tallahassee resident Yasmeen Leon says, "I feel it's unfortunate. The timing is pretty rough. However, I wish him the best and thank him for all that he's done for the community."
Jones became TPD chief in 2007. He says, "It's a sad day, but, also inside, it's also kind of a happy day in many ways. I'm most proud of what this department has been able to accomplish. We have probably one of the best departments in the country, and I mean that sincerely."
The supporters standing behind the chief during the announcement immediately started clapping after Jones said, "I really appreciate the support from this community, especially I appreciate the support from my Tallahassee family."
An interim chief has been named. It will be Tom Coe, the Assistant City Manager for Safety and Neighborhood Services.
By: Lanetra Bennett
September 13, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - Tallahassee's police chief has announced his plans to retire early.
The decision comes after a meeting with his boss and at a time when the department is facing police brutality accusations.
As we've been following all week, the Tallahassee Police Department is facing allegations of excessive force against a woman being arrested for DUI.
The dashcam video of that incident went viral and has sparked tons of comments and controversy. But, Chief Dennis Jones says that is not why he's retiring.
Chief Jones made the emotional announcement just after 3:00 Friday afternoon.
His retirement is effective October 5th.
The chief admits that his leaving is "unfortunate" timing, being that the Tallahassee Police Department is in the middle of an excessive force scandal.
Two officers were placed on administrative leave this week after dashcam video of the DUI arrest of a 44-year-old woman went viral.
Jones was adamant in telling Eyewitness News that his decision to retire had nothing to do with that.
He says, "I've never run from a fight before. This is not a fight. It's just an unfortunate incident that occurred. I think I had some of the similar reactions of that tape that the community had. But, I'm not here to talk about that. It's really not a part of my decision."
Chief Jones says the outcome of that investigation remains to be seen.
Jones has served as Tallahassee's police chief since May 21, 2007.
Tom Coe, the Assistant City Manager for Safety and Neighborhood Services, has been named as the acting police chief.
He says he was supposed to retire next spring, but that he and City Manager Anita Favors Thompson decided Friday that retiring now was in the best interest of the Tallahassee Police Department and the city.
Press Release: City of Tallahassee
Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones will retire from his position effective October 5. Jones has served as Tallahassee's chief since May 21, 2007.
In a letter to the City Manager, dated today, Jones wrote: "It has been my honor and privilege to have served the City and its citizens as police chief for the last six years and to have worked in law enforcement for nearly 35 years, having started on October 15, 1978."
Jones wrote that it was his intention to retire from the City of Tallahassee in the spring of 2014, but he felt it was in the best interest of the Police Department and the City as a whole to retire now.
Jones stated his confidence in the men and women of the Tallahassee Police Department as they "continue to protect and serve this community with the utmost integrity and honor."
City Manager Anita Favors Thompson has named Tom Coe, Assistant City Manager for Safety and Neighborhood Services, as the Acting Police Chief. Prior to assuming his current position, Coe served in the Tallahassee Police Department for nearly 25 years, including more than three years as Chief of Police. The temporary appointment will allow the department to seamlessly continue operations while a search is conducted for the chief's position.
"Dennis Jones is a man of character who has served our community with passion and integrity," said City Manager Anita Favors Thompson. "We wish him the best in his retirement and appreciate his service."