Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O’Connell announced his retirement at Tuesday night’s city commission meeting.
O’Connell has directed the city’s police department since 2011. His retirement was announced at the virtual Zoom meeting by city manager Leigh Ann Henderson.
O’Connell was thanked for his service by Henderson, Mayor Scott Newton and Commissioner Gary Resnick. Newton quipped O’Connell “beat me to retirement.” Resnick inquired if the city’s police officers had been vaccinated for COVID-19.
“When that door is open we’re ready to go,” said O’Connell. O’Connell admitted he had been vaccinated due to his status as a senior citizen.
Resnick suggested Wilton Manors' cops travel to Miami-Dade or Palm Beach Counties to seek out vaccinations.
In his report to the commission O’Connell said car burglaries are up in the city and implored residents to lock their vehicles.
“We have to do a better job of protecting ourselves and our property,” O’Connell said. “That’s the message we need to push forward."
O’Connell said there have been six arrests in the city this month related to car burglaries. The chief also stated the department is investigating a Dec. 14 attack on an elderly woman which he described as a “vicious, horrible crime.”
O’Connell was joined at the meeting by WPD Commander Gary Blocker. No timeline or process for replacing the chief was discussed. Vice Mayor Paul Rolli said since the position reports directly to the city manager it would likely be Henderson’s decision to hire.
When asked for comment about the chief’s retirement, Michael Sansevero, chairman of the city’s community affairs advisory board, simply stated: “It’s time.”
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