The Sanford Police Department will most likely have a new chief in place by Christmas. The Interim Chief says, he'll stay on till then. He says, he's been making lots of changes.
Interim Police Chief, Richard Myers says, some supervisors will soon be shifted out of leadership. "Had a conversation with the captains, talked about two or three other positions and we got a timeline to transition, help people find the right fit for them."
Last Spring, people around the world protested after Sanford Police officers failed to arrest George Zimmerman in the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin. A special prosecutor later charged him with second degree murder.
Myers was hired 4 ½ months ago to help make changes at the department. "I've heard it from day one, I haven't really seen a lot of signs of it, is that it's a good ole boy organization."
Back in June former Chief Bill Lee was fired by the City Manager. "It's like a period of mourning when you lose somebody that's popular that way," Myers said.
So far Myers hasn't fired anyone in the department. "There hasn't been any officer that I've had to terminate since I've been here. I'm pretty sure there could be one or two that have left that I would not support rehiring," he said.
Myers, shifted the department spokesperson to another position and plans to hire a new public information officer, with a salary that ranges from $50,000 to $77,000. He hopes a new face will create a new brand.
"We're looking for someone like yourself, a career professional journalist, who we can bring up to speed about police processes and how we're doing things and help us get around our brand as an organization. As well as how to effectively and thoroughly they provide information to the community and the media."
Chief Myers tells FOX 35, he also started a pilot program where officers reach out to residents in the Goldsboro community, as well as the historic district. "They will help those two teams truly connect with the people of the neighborhoods and help identify the problems."
But when asked if any of those officers are minorities, Myers replied, "The race and gender of the officers selected are irrelevant. What matters is how well they can communicate."
As for a new police chief, a firm called Waters Consulting out of Texas will be paid more than $12,000 to conduct a search. Myers says, whoever fills the vacancy will always have critics.
"You're never going to get 100 percent of employees or community in full agreement. I don't think you're doing much if nobody disagrees with you." Meanwhile the city is paying Myers $10,000 a month to continue making changes.
"There may be one or two moves left that might not be popular, but may fix something that needs fixing." He hopes a new chief will be in place by the holidays.
"I've told my family I may or may not be home for Thanksgiving but it looks like I'll be home for Christmas."