Cedric Alexander, who is currently TSA’s security director at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, will take the reins of the 946-member force on Apr. 1.
Interim Police Chief Lisa Gassner was appointed to lead the department until a new chief was hired following the Nov. 30, 2012, retirement of chief William O’Brien.
Alexander’s law enforcement career began in Miami-Dade County in 1977, where he spent 15 years as a police officer. Prior to heading Rochester’s police department, he was deputy commissioner of the N.Y. State Division of Criminal Justice Services. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist, earning a doctorate from Wright State University in 1997. In 2010, he was third runner-up to George Turner for chief of the Atlanta Police Department.
“I’m excited to have him in charge of protecting DeKalb County citizens,” said CEO Burrell Ellis.
Ellis said public safety is DeKalb’s number one priority.
He said the county is in the process of restructuring the Public Safety Office, as part of a long-term strategy to reach national standards.
New changes will include realignment of police precintcs and hiring 25 additional police officers.
Alexander said DeKalb County officers won’t get pay raises, but he wants to boost the workforce’s morale and encourage them to go out and do their jobs the way the state of Georgia trained them.
“In spite of what some rogue officers may have done in the past, every time [DeKalb police officers] respond to a call for service...that becomes a healing process for this community,” he said.
He said egregious acts — like those alleged against five current and former officers arrested in a Feb. 12 drug sting — do not go unnoticed and will be found out.
“We have too many men and women who work too hard to keep their badges respectable. And we’re not going to let a few bad people damage that.”
“If it’s still going on,” he said, “appropriate action inside this agency is going to be very, very swift.”
Alexander said he is committed to moving forward.
“It is very easy to focus upon the negative things that have occurred. But that for us, quite frankly, is no use,” he said.
“I want to ask everyone — from the officers inside this department, to the command staff, to the board of commissioners, to the community — we have to move forward in a very positive and collective kind of way,” he said.