Three finalists for Pensacola police chief take part in virtual forum


PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — For the first time, the community heard from the three finalists for police chief in a virtual forum Wednesday night and had their questions answered.

Eric Randall was born and raised in Pensacola and now works as the assistant chief of the Newport News Police Department in Virginia.

“What greater honor, what greater duty, than to come back home and serve my community I grew up in,” Randall said. “My entire family still lives here in the area of Pensacola so I have a vested interest in the success of this community.”

Booker Hodges is the assistant commissioner of law enforcement for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

“I was a community activist before I became a police officer so that gives me a dual perspective here,” Hodges said. “I know Minnesota has been in the media a lot for law enforcement. I have not worked for any of these agencies. I’ve not supervised for any of these agencies.”

John Ortolano is a police chief now in Hobbs, New Mexico.

“I’ve seen a number of community surveys that shows there is some distrust in the community with the police department and I’d like to fix those areas, improve upon them, and make us the gold standard for a police department,” Ortolano said.

The three finalists will meet Thursday with the selection committee again and have one-on-one interviews with Mayor Grover Robinson who will make the final decision. The mayor’s choice for finalist will go before the city council for approval on May 13th.

Learn more about the three candidates here.

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