St. Petersburg, Florida -- The city of St. Petersburg has a new police chief.
On Monday, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced his decision to hire Clearwater police chief Anthony Holloway.
Holloway has been the city of Clearwater's chief of police since 2010 and rose through the ranks there over several years, having been with the department since 1985.
"I am pleased to have Chief Holloway leading the St. Petersburg Police Department. The men and women of the SPPD will come to know a strong leader in Chief Holloway," said Kriseman, "I look forward to working with Chief Holloway as he helps make the St. Petersburg Police Department the envy of the law enforcement community around the world."
In a statement Holloway said, "We know we can't solve all the problems ourselves. That is why we have a great partnership with other organizations and leaders throughout the city, to work with them to reduce crime and the fear of crime. If we work together to have a safe place to live, work, and play, we can drive out that fear."
Mayor Kriseman decided to go outside the short list of chief finalists after a nationwide search that spanned several months.
That came as a surprise to many on the city Council.
Councilman Karl Nurse said he was "blindsided" by the decision, but looked forward to working with Chief Holloway to serve some of the more challenged communities in his district.
"Each finalist had their strengths, but ultimately none fit the criteria to successfully meet the needs of our department in our community," said Kriseman, "this process brought me clarity and led me to realize what we need it most: someone familiar with us, but not us. That someone is chief Anthony Holloway."
"He's not an insider, but he's local and I think that's going to be great. He knows St. Pete," said Councilman Wengay Newton.
"You know, my hope is that this is a one-time only and that as they get more experienced hiring folks that we don't get this kind of blind side experience again," said Councilman Karl Nurse.
Mark Marland, President of the St. Pete police officers' union wished the new chief well, while seemingly taking a swipe at previous administrations.
"Congrats to Chief Holloway. I have been hearing good things about him and hope that continues into St. Pete as this agency has been needing a real leader for the last 20 years," said Marland. "The troops are keeping an open mind and hoping for the best. The most important issue at hand is building morale back up and moving the department back to the forefront of policing where it was 25 years ago," he wrote.
The city has planned an official announcement for 11 a.m. Tuesday to introduce Holloway to the city of St. Petersburg.
The department has approximately 750 employees and an annual budget of about $90 million.
Holloway will replace Chuck Harmon, who retired earlier this year.
Below is the full statement on Holloway's hiring:
Chief Anthony Holloway named by Mayor Rick Kriseman to lead the St. Petersburg Police Department, Chief Anthony Holloway is a career law enforcement professional. He is currently the Chief of Police for the City of Clearwater, Florida.
"I am pleased have Chief Holloway leading the St. Petersburg Police Department. The men and women of the SPPD will come to know a strong leader in Chief Holloway. I look forward to working with Chief Holloway as he helps make the St. Petersburg Police Department the envy of the law enforcement community around the world," said Mayor Kriseman.
Said Chief Holloway. "My pledge to this community is to establish a good working relationship with citizens and community leaders from south St. Pete to Tyrone to Gandy, and everywhere in between. I'm going to park my car, walk the neighborhoods, and talk to you. My pledge to the policing professionals of this great department is that I will meet and talk to every single one of you, as well. I am looking forward to working with the outstanding men and women of the St. Petersburg Police Department."
Chief Holloway joined the Clearwater Police Department in 1985 as a patrol officer. During his career with the Clearwater Police Department, he served as a Patrol Officer, a Community Policing Specialist, an undercover Vice & Narcotics Detective, a Patrol Sergeant, a Detective Sergeant (Economic Crimes Unit), the Support Services Assistant Division Commander, and the Patrol Division Commander.
Said Chief Holloway of his time as Chief at the Clearwater Police Department: "We have learned how to be a team not only within the department, but within our community, too. We know we can't solve all the problems ourselves. That is why we have a great partnership with other organizations and leaders throughout the city, to work with them to reduce crime and the fear of crime. If we work together to have a safe place to live, work and play, we can drive out that fear."
From 2007 to 2010, Chief Holloway served as Chief of Police in Somerville, Massachusetts. The city of Somerville, near Boston, is home to a immigrants from all over the world making it one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation.
"In Somerville," said Chief Holloway, "I learned you have to make contact with the 95% of the population who were law abiding citizens, who we weren't going to arrest. Getting to know the community is a crime prevention as well as a community relations tool. When a cop comes to your neighborhood, you should come out to talk about how things are going there."
Since becoming Chief of the Clearwater Police Department, that city has seen a reduction in crime, which, as Holloway says, "has reduced the fear of crime in different communities, and that's just as important."
Innovative, creative techniques are key to breaking the cycle of crime, says Chief Holloway: "Three years ago, there was a shooting in the North Greenwood Community. I started talking to the kids in that community. I knew we needed to start with them if we wanted to break the cycle, but I didn't know what they would want or need. I thought maybe more athletic programs -- basketball, baseball. But the kids said they wanted an education, something to better themselves.
That's when we split a police substation and turned half of it into a learning center. We partnered with local organizations like St. Petersburg College, the United Way, the Pinellas County School Board, and other great organizations to get it done right."
Chief Holloway was born in Sulphur Springs, raised in Tampa, where he graduated from Hillsborough High School. While serving as a Sergeant in the Clearwater Police Department, he attended Eckerd College in St. Petersburg and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (Business Management) in 1999. He received his Master's degree (Business Administration) in 2001.
Chief Holloway discusses his family life by telling a story about his time as a Clearwater Police Sergeant. During a fight involving more than thirty people, Sergeant Holloway lost his wedding band. However, because of the trust and respect he had built in that community, within 24 hours, the ring was turned in to the police substation. "That's what it means to earn the trust of the community," said Holloway. He is married to Andra Dreyfus, an attorney in Clearwater.