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As Tampa searches for new police chief, Hillsborough County NAACP hopes they will bring balance

NAACP chapter president Yvette Lewis says the next chief will have to balance transparency and community trust with city council and leading the department.

TAMPA, Fla. — Police Chief Brian Dugan will be hanging up his uniform in September after announcing his retirement earlier this week. 

Mayor Jane Castor says the city will be searching nationwide to find who will lead the department.

But who’s the best fit to take his spot and connect with people who may have reservations about law enforcement? 

Even at a city council meeting today, a neighbor voiced concerns that Tampa leadership needs to find new ways to solve community problems.

“Y’all gotta stop putting money towards cops who don’t necessarily need it and start putting it towards the people,” he said.

Tampa is continuing to grow, and tensions remain between law enforcement and many communities. Yvette Lewis, president of the Hillsborough County NAACP, says Tampa needs a police chief who won’t run away from discourse and calls for change.

“It’s going to be a difficult process, but can it be done? Yes, it can,” Lewis said. “But is it easy? It’s not going to be easy.”

As cries for more police accountability and transparency ring out across the country and in our area, Lewis says the next chief will have to balance that, along with his or her relationship with city council and the officers under their charge.

“You know the battle didn’t start with us, but can we figure this out together? Yes, we can work together,” she said.

Lewis says the Hillsborough Branch of the NAACP plans to be involved any way it can in the search for a new chief.

She says the organization was able to open a direct line of communication with the department under Dugan’s leadership, and they’re hoping to continue that with whoever takes his spot.

RELATED: 'It’s been an honor': Chief Brian Dugan announces his retirement from Tampa Police Department

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