New chief withdraws
The search for Winter Park’s new police chief continues after the lead candidate withdrew his application just days after accepting the job.
Dallas Police Department Deputy Chief Vernon Hale, who recently accepted the job offer of Winter Park police chief, informed the city on Sunday that he has chosen to remain in Dallas.
“Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Winter Park. It is a beautiful community,” wrote Hale in an email to the city. “However, I have determined that this is not the proper time in my career to leave the men and women of the Dallas PD. I learned a great deal from the process and again thank you for the opportunity. I know you will pick a great chief.”
Winter Park City Manager Randy Knight said he would name an acting police chief from within the department by the end of the week.
The search for a new chief comes in the wake of the impending retirement of Police Chief Brett Railey this Friday. Railey has stood at the helm of the Winter Park Police Department since 2009, and has spent 35 years of his 39-year law enforcement career in Winter Park.
He told the Observer that he’s confident the city will find the right replacement.
“I talked to [Hale] a couple times on the phone, but never got to meet him in person” Railey said. “I’m sorry that he felt the need to withdraw. I think the agency was kind of excited about the direction that we were headed – at least the certainty of a new chief coming in.”
“Now that it didn’t work out, I’m sure everybody’s wondering where we’re headed. Randy [Knight] and the mayor are very aware of that and I’m sure they will address that very quickly.”