After 29 years of service with the Pensacola Police Department and attaining the highest rank possible as the Pensacola Chief of Police, Chip Simmons is retiring in August. Mayor Ashton Hayward announced his nomination of David Alexander as the first African-American Chief of Police in the 194-year history of the Pensacola Police Department. The Pensacola City Council will be presented with the nomination for approval at the July City Council Meeting.
Mayor Hayward released a statement saying, “Chief Simmons and I have worked closely together every day since I took office as Mayor. He shares my belief that public safety is the single most important responsibility of any city government, and his community-oriented and results-centric approach has made him an invaluable partner in our effort to keep our neighborhoods and citizens safe. I’m extremely proud of the results we’ve been able to deliver through that close collaboration and teamwork.”
The mayor praised Chief Simmons and the rank and file of the Pensacola Police Department for the “significant reductions in crime year-over-year”. The mayor continued his comments on crime statistics which depicted “14% reduction in 2013 and an 8% reduction last year, have resulted in the lowest crime rate on record”. He went on to commend Chief Simmons for his initiation of a two-year effort which culminated last year with the achievement of “a highly-prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence” by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation of the police department. Additionally, it is worth recognizing that the Pensacola Police Department became the first department in the region to deploy body cameras.
Chief Simmons became a member of the Pensacola Police Department in 1986. According to the press release from the Mayor Hayward’s office, Simmons was promoted to sergeant in 1995, lieutenant in 1998, captain in 2002, and assistant chief in January 2005, before being appointed as Chief of Police in June 2010. The release went on to enumerate his assignments within the department in the Uniform Patrol, Vice & Narcotics, and Investigations, and his service as a SWAT commander, field training officer, and media spokesman.
Assistant Chief Alexander began as a cadet with the Pensacola Police Department in 1983, and has served as Assistant Chief since September 2014. Alexander holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice as well as a master’s degree in human resources management from Troy State University. Alexander is deeply involved in the community, serving as an Assistant Pastor and Youth Leader at Jesus Holy Tabernacle Church and volunteering his time with Northwest Florida Congregations in Action, Northwest Florida Prevention Coalition, and the JHT (Justice, Hope and Training) Safe Haven Development Center.