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Alexander Becomes Assistant Pensacola Police Chief

The Pensacola Police Department has a new second-in-command.  David Alexander, III was promoted from captain to Assistant Chief, becoming the first African-American to be named to the post, since it was created in 1994.

Family and friends filled a large room at police headquarters on Thursday for a ‘badge pinning ceremony’ in honor of new Assistant Chief Alexander, and also to acknowledge Tommi Lyter’s advancement from Lieutenant to Captain.

“Mr. Alexander, you’ve been doing this since 1983. Mr. Lyter, you’ve been doing this since 1990. And, it was a true honor to be able to promote both of these individuals. They’re both the epitome of professionalism, like everyone at the police department,” said Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, who was on hand for opening remarks.

Lyter, was first to be honored, with his wife chosen for the pinning. Then, it was Alexander’s turn, with his wife also chosen to pin on his new assistant chief’s badge.

Police Chief Chip Simmons said he was pleased to call Alexander a friend and noted the historical significance of the occasion.

“Anyone that knows David Alexander knows what his qualifications are. He’s been the senior Captain for 12 years. The fact that he is African American has not escaped our notice. He has used his position in the community in so many positive ways, and he’s helped our police department in so many positive ways. To me, it’s just a byproduct of what he is as a person,” said Simmons.

Alexander, who is 54, actually started his career with the department as a cadet in 1983. He left for a couple of years, returning to the force in 1991 and eventually rising to the rank of captain, most recently in charge of Criminal Investigations.  And, now after nearly 30 years, he takes over as Assistant Chief.

“It was something that was always on my mind, I aspired to do, and sometimes you just have to get busy working and let the decisions be made. It’s been a long road, but I’m here and I’m just grateful to be here,” said a beaming Alexander following the ceremony.

As for youth in the area, Alexander says he’s proud to be an example of how dreams can come true. And, he’s determined to continue his grassroots work in the community, believing that such efforts ships will pay off when times turn turbulent and problems arise.

“Certainly, I’ve endeavored to build good trusting relationships with youth people because I need them to know men and women in the uniform are trust-worthy; in spite some of the negative things they see that there are people out there that are putting their lives on the line daily for their protection. And, certainly, when they need help, they need to feel confident that they can go to law enforcement,” he said.

Assistant Chief David Alexander and Captain Tommi Lyter each have bachelor’s of science degrees in criminal justice from Troy University. Alexander also earned a master’s degree from Troy in human resources, while Lyter has a master’s from Troy in public administration. Additionally, each graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA. They will officially assume their new positions on September 15.

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years. Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.