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St. Petersburg's Assistant Police Chief Gets Top Job In Tallahassee

Former St. Petersburg assistant police chief Antonio Gilliam, shown during the interview process, will return home as Tallahassee's police chief. ROBBIE GAFFNEY/WFSU

St. Petersburg's assistant police chief is returning home to lead the police department in Tallahassee.

Antonio Gilliam, 41, was chosen among three finalists Wednesday and named Tallahassee’s new chief of police.

The Tallahassee native has been working in law enforcement for 18 years. Most recently he served as St. Petersburg’s assistant police chief.

Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad said in a press release he’s glad to bring Gilliam back home.

“I have strong confidence that Chief Gilliam will demonstrate his commitment and expertise by immediately engaging with the community to address violent crime, specifically gun violence involving our youth,” Goad said. “He grew up on the Southside, so he has the firsthand knowledge of our community—because it’s his hometown.”

Gilliam said he’s “honored by the opportunity to come back to [his] beloved hometown.”

The process for selecting a new chief began in August, a month after then chief Mike DeLeo resigned. The process culminated in a community meet and greet and November after which officials asked residents for their input.

During the meet and greet the top three candidates were asked to outline specific strategies to engage the community while enhancing public safety.

Gilliam said he’d require every officer to get out of their vehicle and walk through neighborhoods every day.

“Everyone from the police chief, meaning myself, to the newest officer in the field will take 10 minutes out of their day to stop what they’re doing and walk around the neighborhoods and walk around the businesses, walk around the park, walk into churches, if we’re invited— walk up on someone’s step and just chit chat and have a conversation,” said Gilliam, who served on St,. Petersburg's Street Crimes Unit, tasked with finding a solution to gun violence.

Gilliam also said he said he would create a special surveillance group to help address property crime and violent crime.

“Focusing particularly on crime patterns such as vehicle burglary, vehicle theft, residential burglary and aggravated assault—which also means shooting. The special surveillance group will have a flexible schedule based upon intelligence led policing and tips and information from the community,” Gilliam said.

Gilliam was the only finalist to not come from Tallahassee’s Police Department.  He replaces interim chief Steve Outlaw.

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