Chief Revell wants law enforcement partnership
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
For as long as Lawrence Revell has been a police officer, he’s established relationships with just about every law enforcement agency in the state.
As the new chief of Tallahassee Police Department, Revell plans to call on every agency to help him curb crime in the city. He is convinced that he could begin to work with law enforcement locally and throughout the state immediately.
“I have longstanding relationships with each of those agencies so we won’t have to take time to build that,” said Revell, who was sworn in as the city’s new chief 10 days ago. “We can start right now to implement the things we need to do to collaborate on our technology, which obviously is a very expensive endeavor. But the city is committed to that.”
Several law enforcement officers, including representatives from police departments at FAMU, FSU and TCC, attended the swearing-in ceremony. Sheriff Walt McNeil, who gave Revell his first major promotion to sergeant when he was chief of TPD, said the new chief is taking an approach that could be effective.
“I know his heart. I know exactly what he is trying to do,” McNeil said. “When he says cooperation, he really means it. He knows it’s going to take all of us working cooperatively together to make changes in Tallahassee-Leon County.
“It’s the most exciting day I’ve had since I’ve been sheriff. We got the right man in the right place that’s going to make a difference.”
State attorney Jack Campbell said having a partnership with TPD would help to expedite certain cases, especially with the use of technology.
TPD officers “are the ones out there in the streets who are actually detecting crime; solving crime,” Campbell said. “That’s where we have a hard time because it’s in black and white in a report. They are the ones who actually get to meet flesh to flesh, see these people day in and day out and that’s what I’m excited about. They can help us to go ahead and isolate those bad apples, get them out of the bucket so we can have a more peaceful community.”
Curbing youth involvement in crime is one of the biggest challenge facing local law enforcement officers, McNeil said. During his tenure as TPD chief, McNeal put in place a concept that impacted youth crimes.
However, he said new strategies have to be used and he will support whatever plan Revell comes up with.
“I’ve got to sit down with Chief Revell and say; ‘what’s your vision and how can we help. How can we embrace what you’re trying to do and get on board with it?’ ”
Since being selected for the job that was vacated by Michael DeLeo six months ago, Revell has been pushing community policing as one of his priorities. He made an appeal to the large crowd that packed into the gymnasium at Jack McLean Park.
“I stand before you to say that the unity we want for this community can be had by all,” he said. “The road to unity began with weeks of and months of prayer.
“Our whole community is being utilized and we must continue to seize the momentum that’s been started.”
To that, city manager Reese Goad responded: “That will be a big piece with fighting crime in our community.”
Rev. R. B. Holmes, minister at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, joined other members of the local clergy in a prayer for Revell. Later Holmes said the new chief is on the right path with plan that involve the community.
“I think law enforcement understands that they can’t solve the crime problem without total community involvement,” he said. “They are approaching this from a holistic perspective; law enforcement, faith-base, neighborhoods and community leaders. That is the recipe for reducing crime in our community.”
Holmes also praised Revell for taking his swearing-in ceremony to a location on the Southside, where he grew up. He called it a “very significant moment.”
“It’s about neighborhoods. It’s another good move to say the way we resolve this is the police officers and the chief got to be in the neighborhoods where people live,” Holmes said. “People have got to see police officers; not as the enemy but as a friend.”
Talethia Edwards, president of the Greater Bond Neighborhood Association, said she was surprised by the decision to have the ceremony on the Southside. However, Revell said he wouldn’t have had it any other way because of his roots in the area.
“I thought it was going to be at City Hall but when I heard it was going to be right here at Jack McLean, I thought it was a good sign that our community is going to be central to what he does; his initiatives,” Edwards said. “He is all in (and) he is not running from what he knows is a different space in the African American community. I admire him for that.”