Orlando gets their first Hispanic police chief
AP Orlando – Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon’s appointment as Orlando’s new chief of police drew a standing ovation from both officers and city officials at a ceremony Thursday.
Rolon, 54, will be the city’s first Hispanic police chief in a city where about 30 percent of residents are Hispanic.
“Orlando has been my home…for the past four decades and I don’t take this opportunity lightly,” Rolon said.
Police Chief John Mina announced his retirement earlier this year in order to run for Orange County Sheriff. Mina’s last day at work is Oct. 26, and his retirement is effective Dec. 1.
Rolon will serve as acting police chief starting Oct. 27, and will formally become police chief Dec. 2.
In his current role, Rolon, one of four deputy chiefs, oversees the department’s largest division: the Patrol Services Bureau. He’s worked in all four department bureaus and nine of 11 divisions and once served as an OPD spokesman.
He’s also commanded the Professional Standards, West Patrol and Traffic Enforcement divisions, and served on the Crisis Negotiation Team for nearly 20 years, according to a news release.
Rolon was a liaison to Dyer from 2005 to 2008 and advised the mayor on important issues in the Hispanic community.
Dyer said he interviewed three of the agency’s deputy chiefs for the position and didn’t consider outside candidates.
“I tell every department director that your first job is to prepare somebody to take your job when you’re done,” Dyer said.
Rolon said his time serving under Mina helped prepare him to take over the chief’s job.
“To Chief Mina, no other chief has endured the challenges you’ve had to lead us through during the last four and a half years, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of your executive staff during that time, which helped me prepare for this day,” Rolon said in prepared remarks.
He said his priorities as chief would be keeping his officers safe and also working to build and protect the community’s trust. He said he would unveil more of his plan later this month when he formally takes over.
“To our citizens, we will continue our relentless efforts to reduce crime, build trust and protect the trust you have given us to serve and protect our community,” Rolon said.
Mina thanked police officers for their work during his four-and-a-half-year tenure and reflected on the Pulse tragedy, the shooting death of Lt. Debra Clayton and the loss of four more active-duty officers to illness.
“I could not be more proud to be your chief, and it has been the greatest honor of my life,” Mina said.
Through it all, Mina said Rolon was always conscious of the officers’ needs and made sure they were taken care of, even in chaotic situations the agency has faced.
“Orlando Rolon is going to be a great chief,” Mina said.
His appointment must be confirmed by the city council, which is scheduled to meet Oct. 22 but there is no reason to believe there will be any problems confirming him.