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Diversity is top of mind for incoming Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell

Posted at 6:14 PM, Dec 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-26 18:14:29-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As Lawrence Revell steps in to the chief role he says diversity is top of mind.

It's something community leaders agree needs to be a big focus for the Tallahassee Police Department's next leader.

"We have some great things coming out immediately, I'm not going to reveal those yet but you will see those quickly," said Revell.

Incoming Tallahassee Police Chief Revell has big plans for the new year with plans to make the staff at TPD more diverse.

"The police department does things already with recruiting but you're right it's a problem across this country but we do have some new and fresh ideas," said Revell.

To do that he plans to reach out to community groups. Like taking grads from the city's TEMPO Program that helps teenagers and young adults turn their lives around.

Revell is looking at ways to make them community service officers. A move that could put them on track to becoming a full-time officer with the department.

"Let's get behind our police chief. They've made a selection and we want them to know we support it," said Curtis Taylor, Interim CEO at Tallahassee Urban League.

He says while Revell wasn't the search committee's first pick, now is about looking at the bigger picture.

Gaining community support might be tough. In 1996 Revell shot and killed a black teenager after police say he hit his partner with a car.

While Revell was cleared of any wrongdoing, it's something that's left many wondering if he is the right man to lead a department, in need of more minorities, especially in leadership.

"Certainly we need to have diversity as relation to our police department," said Taylor. "The look to reflect our communities. We're talking about trying to do community policing, we're talking about trying to do a relationship with the people in our community and so diversity plays an important role in seeing we can make these changes."

Seeing diversity within the police department is something the community is passionate about.

The president of the NAACP spoke with us earlier this week about his desire to see someone in leadership that can represent the different types of people that make up Tallahassee.

"As of right now, we now have an all white male command staff and that's not reflective of the residents of this city," said Adner Marcellin, NAACP President. "We demand and we should have a police department that is equally diverse as our community is."