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Randall Sworn In As New Pensacola Police Chief

Pensacola Police Chief Eric Randall
Pensacola Police Department
Pensacola Police Chief Eric Randall

New chief promises 'community policing'

Eric Randall takes the reins of the Pensacola Police Department, as its 20th chief since 1885.

The job officially became his at City Hall on Monday.

Kevin Christman’s final duty as Interim Chief was to serve as MC for the ceremony, after weeks of working with his new boss.

“What an outstanding day to be in Pensacola; to live here and to work here,” said Christman. “Again, congratulations Chief Randall, and your entire family on this accomplishment. We look forward to many, many years of working together.”

Christman will return to his previous job as Deputy Chief. The first speaker up, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson, provided a bit of history in the city’s bicentennial year of becoming a U.S. territory.

“Two hundred years of sustained excellence; we’ve all gone through hurricanes, storms, events, tough times,” the mayor said. “But there’s only so many of us that actually have to respond and get out to certain events. And thank goodness they’re the men and women of the Pensacola Police Department – that have done that for 200 years.”

Robinson then turned his attention to Chief Randall, who’s also a Navy veteran.

“We have somebody who has gone away, served his country, served individuals as a police officer,” said the mayor. “Becoming the highest opportunity at his police force and having the opportunity now to bring home what he learned, and help us continue to be a better place and a better group as we improve.”

Randall comes back to Pensacola after serving in the Newport News, Virginia Police Department, rising to assistant chief and investigation bureau commander.

“Wow….what a homecoming,” said Randall amid chuckles from the audience. “I’m touched right now.”

After Circuit Judge Amy Brodersen administered the oath of office, Randall told the gathering in city council chambers – and the men and women of PPD – about his vision of community policing moving forward.

Chief Eric Randall at his swearing in ceremony, Monday, June 14.
Pensacola Police Department
Chief Eric Randall at his swearing in ceremony, Monday, June 14.

“I want you to know that I have complete confidence that together, working as a team, we will meet and overcome any challenges ahead,” said Randall. “As law enforcement professionals, we must never forget the importance of having a positive attitude and a good work ethic. These principles should serve as a foundation for all that we do for our community.”

The new chief also reminded those attending of the department’s mission.

“To provide professional, efficient and courteous service to the public; we should strive to improve the quality of life by enforcing laws in a fair and impartial manner, by encouraging a spirit of cooperation and mutual trust with the public,” Randall said. “Officers and professional staff should have respect for the dignity and rights of all people.”

Achieving that mission, says Randall, begins with engaging with the community as they move forward. Those include key elements from department leadership that must also be embraced by the rank-and-file.

“We are a team,” declared the new chief. “With each responsible for working with other team members to identify, and address, and solve, our community issues. It is important that we communicate effectively – internally and externally. Moreover, trust is something that cannot be overlooked. It is important that we trust each other, and we continue the great work being done [in] building trust in our community.”

Randall also reminded PPD personnel of the agency’s core values – courtesy, integrity, and professionalism. He added that the department is vital to one area not normally associated with law enforcement.

“We are the key to economic development; each one of us has an important role in the economic development of our city,” said Randall. “We must proactively address crime trends, developing solutions with follow-up and problem-solving measures.”

Eric Randall succeeds Tommi Leiter, who retired last year to join the Escambia County Sheriff’s office to work for his predecessor Chip Simmons, who was elected sheriff in 2020.