Meet the Chief: Revell meets with community for first time

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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 9, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- On Thursday, newly appointed Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell met with the public during a community meet and greet.

The event is part of Revell's vision of connecting with the community and learning from residents about what they want from law enforcement.

WCTV's Monica Casey conducted a live interview with the new Chief in our 5:30 newscast.

Youth crime is a subject that has many in Tallahassee talking; tell us about your plans to partner with the City's TEMPO program.

Chief Revell says TPD will work with the TEMPO program to assist graduates to become Community Service Officers.

"That requirement is not as strict as it is to be a full time police officer, and so by engaging with Dr. Thomas and the TEMPO program, we can take the disconnected youth that have shown potential in that program, that have graduated that program, and bring them into a CSO role," said Chief Revell.

Revell says those youths will make good salaries and have solid benefits.

"And after a year or two of them working and learning the systems and everything, now they're set up for success to move into a police officer's role. And then from that point, we take them, put them right back in the communities in which they grew up in and they're immediately mentors there."

The idea could also help with recruitment and retention in TPD.

You are currently working on a different command staff structure; what is the purpose of the three deputy chiefs?

Revell says TPD will keep the same amount of majors, but increase the deputy chief number.

"The reason I'm doing that is I'm not just planning for right now, I'm planning for the future of TPD. I want my command staff to be set so as we do do things in the community, as we expand in the community, whethr we're talking about substations or precincts and different quadrants, my command structure is set up to handle that now."

Tonight's meet-and-greet is open to the community; you've discussed making the term "community policing" more than a catchphrase. Why is tonight's event important for that vision?

"It's not just about community policing and COPS squads, it's more about community-led policing, and getting the community involved in the police department and developing that trust and having real conversations about real issues," said Revell.

Revell says a meet-and-greet is a great start to that goal.

He wants to address issues such as gun violence, youth violence, and homelessness.

"There are issues we wouldn't necessarily take the lead on, but we want to work alongside other City departments and groups within the community."

Revell says a Citizen Advisory Committee will be a big part of the initiative, and he wants total transparency.

Revell also spoke with WCTV at the event to discuss, among other things, what he's learned from community residents, youth crime in Tallahassee and a new command staff structure.