Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sanford offers police chief job to deputy chief of Chicago-area city

CHICAGO — Elgin, Ill., Deputy Police Chief Cecil Smith has been offered the job of police chief in Sanford, the community that drew national controversy over authorities' handling of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, officials announced Tuesday.

If Smith accepts the job, he would succeed former Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, who was fired last year after a public outcry when police failed to quickly arrest shooting suspect George Zimmerman. Critics accused Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, with targeting Martin, 17, because he was black. Zimmerman has claimed he acted in self defense.

Smith, 51, said he is mulling over the job offer.

"It is going to take a little family conversation to find out if this is a good fit for us or not," he said. "Should everything work out, I look forward to the challenge, in working with the city of Sanford, in resolving any issues that are underlying in the community."

Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte has said that Sanford must "seek ways to heal itself" from the controversy. The teen's Feb. 26 death followed years of complaints, primarily from Sanford's black community, about racism by police against black residents.

Smith was one of five candidates — and one of two black candidates — who traveled to Sanford this month to meet with city leaders and residents about the job. The candidates were chosen from 76 applicants.

"Elgin, unlike Sanford, had issues 20, 30 years ago," Smith said. "You have to have the buy-in from the community to make change. I believe in sitting down and working with those issues."

Sanford's population is about half the size of Elgin's 110,000 residents. Sanford employs 22 police officers, compared with Elgin's 180 officers, Smith said.

Sanford offered Smith an annual salary of $110,469.

Sanford offers police chief job to deputy chief of Chicago-area city 01/29/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay small businesses give Tampa B+ for regulatory climate

    Corporate

    In a recent survey about small business sentiments toward state and local government policies that affect them, Tampa Bay ranked at No. 25 out of 80 — a B+ overall.

    Tampa Bay ranked No. 25 out of 80 in a recent survey about how small business owners feel about state and local government policies that affect them. | [Times file photo]
  2. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  3. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  5. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.