City has no immediate plans to search for new police chief
The city of Cape Coral has no immediate plans to search for and hire a new police chief, according to officials.
During the City Council meeting Monday, City Manager Gary King said the city is not actively seeking a police chief at this time. He confirmed that Tuesday.
“There is no active search,” he said.
King added that a search was never started.
Interim Police Chief Jay Murphy took over the top position in June after former Police Chief Rob Petrovich retired after serving the agency for 26 years. Murphy was appointed by past Interim City Manager Carl Schwing.
Also Monday, King praised Murphy for his work as interim chief.
“Murphy is doing an admirable job right now,” he said. “He’s doing everything I’m asking of him right now.”
Murphy responded to the commendation Tuesday.
“As a department, we are humbled by his confidence in us, and we look forward to continuing to bringing about this community engagement project with his assistance and participation,” he said.
In the next week or so, the Cape Coral Police Department will announce its plans to host focus groups to improve the department’s interaction with the public. Murphy previously said the focus will be communication, marketing and branding, and initial plans involved three or four groups of 10 to 12 people.
“It’s part of our overall community engagement program,” Lt. Anthony Sizemore, spokesman for the Cape police, said Tuesday.
According to Sizemore, the department is working on the project with the Institute of Government and professors from Florida Gulf Coast University.
“To formulate what types of questions, what type of information we hope to gain,” he said.
The focus groups are one component of the agency’s attempt to better communicate with the public. According to Murphy, a new Facebook page and new Twitter account is planned to keep locals informed of what is going on.
“We’re just trying to take every medium that we can to allow the public to feel that they have an option to voice concerns or ask questions,” he said.
Tuesday, King pointed out that the current lack of a police chief search does not mean that Murphy will retain the top position down the road.
“There has been no determination that Jay Murphy will be the permanent chief,” he said. “That’s just the status.”
Earlier this month, city officials announced plans to launch the community engagement program in order to assess the police department. King said the program incorporates the focus groups, as well as a citizens advisory board.