(DeLand, Florida) – After more than two decades of serving with the DeLand Police Department, Police Chief Bill Ridgway has announced he will retire at the end of April.
“It has been a privilege to serve the residents of DeLand,” Ridgway said. “I believe I am leaving the agency in a good position for someone else to step into the role.”
Ridgway began his career with DeLand at the age of 21 and rose through the ranks during his career. He was one of the department’s two deputy chiefs when he was selected as police chief in 2011.
idgway’s last day on the job will be April 30.
“Bill has done a tremendous job for the city and has served us well,” said City Manager Michael Pleus.
The City of DeLand has already launched a national search to find Ridgway’s successor. The city has contracted with STARS, a recruitment entity created by the Florida Police Chief’s Association.
STARS will use the position profile to develop an applicant pool and eventually pare down the list to about 10 candidates. A selection committee will then develop a list of finalists. That committee includes Pleus; Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, Ray Almadovar of Stetson Public Safety; Tisi Blakeslee of the Alumni Association; Norton Bonaparte, Sanford City Manager; Althea Chavers of the Spring Hill Boys & Girls Club; Eugene Collier, Concerned Clergy Chair; resident Paula Kelton, Pastor Mike Modica, former city commissioner Charles Paiva and Color Line Roundtable Chair Ted Small.
The process will also include a tour of city departments for candidates to meet with staff, interviews by the selection committee and thorough background checks.
The selection committee is also seeking input from the community. Anonymous comment cards will be available at the Taste of DeLand event on January 21 and during the Me Strong 5K on January 28. Comment cards will also be available in the first floor lobby of City Hall through January 31.
Pleus will make a final decision on the city’s next police chief based on a recommendation from the selection committee.
“This may take some time, but we are committed to finding the right person that best fits our community,” Pleus said.