Next Orlando Police Chief Has 'Big Shoes To Fill'

Deputy Chief Paul Rooney talked about his plan to target Orlando's violent criminals, and said if the agency can keep them off the streets, he will be able to further reduce crime.


ORLANDO, Fla. --

WFTV reporter Daralene Jones sat down with Orlando's next Chief of Police one day after Chief Val Demings announced that she is retiring. He talked about his plan to target Orlando's violent criminals, and said if the agency can keep them off the streets, he will be able to further reduce crime.

Deputy Chief Paul Rooney is in charge of patrol, which is the largest bureau at the Orlando Police Department. In 24 years on the force, he's worked in every division, but he's following a chief credited for the city's most dramatic drop in violent crime three years in a row.

"I have some very big shoes to fill," Rooney said.

WFTV went one-on-one with Rooney to find out how he plans to keep it that way.

"We know who's out there committing these violent crimes. We need to target those offenders instead of targeting just offenses," he said.

Instead of just saturating so called "hot spots" Chief Rooney showed WFTV a database he's implementing to keep track of violent offenders released from jail or prison. They're grouped in the system, based on where they live.

Officers will monitor them and like a Facebook page, they'll write on a wall if they spot them doing anything suspicious. That way, every officer is on the same page.

The goal is to catch them before they reoffend.

"Probably about 40 to 50 who we know are up to no good, out of prison, out of jail, not working and went back to committing crime," he said.

Rooney said there are currently no plans to increase the force of 735 officers, but more training will be a priority.

He said new numbers show Florida leads the nation in officers killed in the line of duty.

Rooney will earn $143,000 a year, which is what Chief Val Demings currently makes.

Copyright 2011 by wftv.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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