BELLEAIR — The town has a new police chief. Rick Doyle was sworn in at a recent commission meeting.
Doyle was selected following a search to replace outgoing Chief Bill Sohl, who retired after a 44-year career in law enforcement, 11 with Belleair and four years as chief.
In addition to his work in Belleair, Doyle left for a time for the Forsythe County Sheriff's Office in Georgia, where he joined the command staff and served as major and director of operations, before returning.
In introducing his new chief to the community, Town Manager J.P. Murphy was almost apologetic for taking so long to appoint Doyle. He indicated he knew all along Doyle was the man for the job.
"We knew we had the right guy," he said. "But we had to be 100 percent sure. We had to go through the interview process."
Murphy then revealed Doyle's qualifications for the position.
"He has over 30 years of diverse business experience and over 15 years of law enforcement experience," he said.
Doyle holds a master's degree in human resources and management and a bachelor's degree in human recourses. He is a state-certified peace officer in both Georgia and Florida.
Murphy said Doyle has also held senior vice president positions with both Aetna and Humana health care companies.
Doyle is also active in several community activities. He is part of the Heroes of the St. Pete Police, which is striving to erect a memorial to remember the fallen members of that department. He is also active in the Mike Alstott Foundation, charged with uplifting the spirits of families and in supporting the Special Olympics, Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital and several other charities.
"I am so humbled and thankful that so many people from my past are here this evening," Doyle said. "Belleair is a good community and it is overwhelming that I am taking this on.''