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Saturday, February 11, 2017


Chief David Alexander is not running for office; he's not a politician.  But, he is a powerful bridge between the city government--and it's awesome policing powers--and the diverse communities and neighborhoods and businesses that make Pensacola a magnet for sporting teams, festivals, concerts, and corporations in northwest Florida.  There is a great deal of civic pride in Pensacola.  We see that in the vitality of our historical associations, homeowners associations, and other service-minded civic organizations, as well as the hundreds of volunteers from for-profit and non-profit corporations that mentor students, feed the homeless, or help the aged.

And, we see it in the number of residents and local groups who have rallied to ask Mayor Ashton Hayward to retain Chief Alexander as Chief of Police, and, the 6-0 vote in the City Council expressing their vote of confidence in the chief.  I join that effort.

The City of Pensacola is fortunate to have a Chief of Police who reflects and gives back that vitality and civic pride.  Chief Alexander was born and raised in Pensacola.  He knows this city.  He is a living piece of Pensacola's history who knows its troubled past, the progress it has made, and the progress it needs to make.  And, he also understands what Pensacola needs in terms of modernizing its police force.

Chief Alexander is a strong proponent of "intentional policing" or "community policing."  All residents should read Chief Alexander's "2020 Vision: Intentional Policing Strategies," a forward thinking plan to increase the legitimacy of the Pensacola Police Department through more and better training, restructuring and restaffing measures, and the use of body cameras.

But, the most significant aspect of the "2020 Vision" is to build community trust and confidence in the police through face-to-face engagement.  More trust and confidence leads to more legitimacy--and safer communities and a safer city.  Scholars of law enforcement know that the better the relationship between the police and the community, the greater the likelihood that witnesses to crimes will come forward; and, that day-to-day, face-to-face contacts between police and community members reduces frictions and can head off problems before they become criminal concerns.

Not only does Chief Alexander attend homeowners association meetings and other public meetings, but the strategy calls for his officers to meet and engage residents.  The chief proposed that shift hours be altered to allow police officers more time to engage the communities they serve.

Chief Alexander's "End of Fiscal Year 2016 Report," a copy obtained by CJ's Street Report, notes that the Pensacola Police Department, including its chief of police, have significantly increased community engagement over its reported 2014 and 2015 reports.  These include:

  • Big Brother/Big Sister events and mentoring opportunities,
  • UWF Men's Conference and African-American Student Association,
  • Heroes in the Community partnership with Jack & Jill of America,
  • Big Cookout at the Fricker Center,
  • Cane and Able event with the Society for the Blind,
  • 100 Black Men mentoring workshop,
  • Escambia County Cares outreach services,
  • All Lives Matter rally after annual Martin Luther King Jr breakfast,
  • Escambia Westgate Mardi Gras parade,
  • Officers wrote positive notes for Campfire Gulf Winds' Incredible Kids,
  • WRNE Monday morning broadcast,
  • Domestic violence conference in Pensacola for PPD officers and support agencies,
  • Florida Faith-based Commission meeting to discuss problem-solving techniques,
  • Lecture to Booker T. Washington HS football team on staying out of trouble,
  • Real Women guest speaker on internet radio broadcast,
  • UWF workshop with 125 participants on drunk driving,
  • Five-day youth and police academy,
  • Continued work with the ACLU, NAACP, Movement for Change, WEAR TV3, WKRG TV5, and VFN Radio to keep positive lines of communication open with community,
  • Achieve Escambia partnership,
  • National Coffee with a Cop Day,
  • National Night Out,
  • and on and on and on and on and on.

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