Cape Coral’s interim police chief has earned a permanent position.
Monday City Manager Gary King promoted B.A. “Jay” Murphy to the position of chief of police. Murphy had been serving as interim police chief since June, when former Cape Coral Police Chief Rob Petrovich retired.
“I have been impressed with his leadership these past few months, and I am pleased that he is employing innovative solutions to improve service delivery and the image of the department,” King wrote in a prepared statement.
Murphy reacted to the appointment Monday.
“While I’m pleased that Gary has chosen me, I’m also easily reminded that this isn’t about Jay Murphy,” Murphy said. “If we as an organization weren’t providing a satisfactory level of service, then Gary would have been forced to go outside (of the department).”
He attributed the appointment to the men and women at the Cape police.
“It’s more about what they’ve done and we as a group have accomplished,” Murphy said. “I just happen to be the one who has the honor of leading the organization.”
Murphy was hired as a patrolman in 1978 and rose through the ranks, attaining the position of deputy chief in 1989. He and his command staff are currently working on a Community En-gagement Program to enhance existing community-orientated policing programs.
“Cape Coral’s crime rate is at a 20-year low and remains among the lowest for major cities in Florida due to the partnership between the police and our residents,” King wrote. “Chief Murphy has helped foster this relationship over the years, both behind the scenes and, more recently, at the helm of the department.”
“He has earned this promotion,” he added.
According to Murphy, the department hopes to publish its strategic plan in the coming months. He said the idea is a shift to community governance.
“It provides residents the opportunity to directly interact and offer opinions and direction on how they want to see their police department police their city,” Murphy said.
One aspect of this would be the creation of an advisory board to the police department. Murphy would like to get between 12 and 15 people to represent the community, from businesses and organizations to regular Cape citizens.
The plan would be to have the board routinely meet with staff and talk about what is working, what is not working and address any new issues, he said.
“We can do a lot of things, but a lot of those things require community support,” Murphy said.
Murphy holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Eckerd College, as well as a number of prestigious certifications and affiliations in criminal justice and public safety, according to city officials.
He has received letters of recommendation from 20th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Steve Russell, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, several police chiefs throughout Southwest Florida and the Fort Myers chapter of the NAACP.