CRESTVIEW — Mayor David Cadle has announced that former Fort Walton Beach police officer Tony Taylor will be the city’s new police chief.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am to have been selected,” Taylor said Monday evening after Cadle’s announcement.
In his brief remarks, Taylor promised that the beleaguered Crestview Police Department’s “No. 1 priority” will be accreditation.
Taylor will take over Oct. 1. He will earn $70,000.
During his report at the City Council meeting, Cadle acknowledged that the turmoil surrounding allegations against Police Chief Brian Mitchell and his operations commander, Maj. Joseph Floyd, has resulted in a lack of public confidence in the force.
“This department is still suffering from the stigma of what happened months ago,” Cadle said. “It is critically important that we restore the trust of the citizens of Crestview. We have not done that yet.”
Taylor said he will work to do that.
“I look forward to working with you, with the community, to pull us out of this quagmire,” he said. “We survived this in Fort Walton and we’ll survive it in Crestview. We’ll be able to hold our heads up.”
Cadle said the search for a new chief, which under the current city charter falls to him, attracted 17 applicants. That list was narrowed to four finalists, including Maj. Kenneth Bundrick, the department’s interim chief.
Cadle said a major difference him and Bundrick’s was the future of the now disbanded Street Crimes Unit, which Floyd had commanded.
“I spoke to Chief Bundrick. We realized some differences of opinion on the Street Crimes Unit,” Cadle reported. “We have seen a spike in crime. I would like to see a narcotics crime unit put in place. He disagrees with me on this.”
Taylor retired from the Fort Walton Beach Police Department in June 2010 after 33 years. He most recently served as a consultant to the force.
Taylor promised an open-door policy and encouraged citizens to meet with him to express their concerns and offer suggestions.
Matthew Brown contributed to this report.