Orlando's First Hispanic Police Chief Plans To Retire

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The first Hispanic police chief in the city of Orlando's history plans to retire after four years on the job and three decades with the law enforcement agency.

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said Thursday in a letter to the city's mayor that he intends to retire in November when he reaches his 30th year as an officer with the Orlando Police Department, though he said his last work day will be in August.

In his letter to Mayor Buddy Dyer, Rolon said that law enforcement had faced unprecedented challenges during the past three years, ranging from the social unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Orlando, more than 100 people were arrested, mostly for misdemeanors or ordinance violations, during a week of demonstrations involving thousands of protesters following Floyd's death. A few times, officers used tear gas to disperse protesters after some protesters threw rocks and bottles, but Rolon also held hands with some protesters to the dismay of the police union.

“The demonstrations in our city were much more than we experienced before, and when other parts of the country experienced unrest during the demonstrations, we managed to maintain order and peace without any significant incidents,” Rolon said.

In his letter, Rolon also cited accomplishments of re-establishing a neighborhood patrol unit, forming a junior reserve law enforcement program and creating a center that monitors real-time crime.

“I did not allow for social unrest or the pandemic to stop us from implementing changes and strategies to make us more efficient, professional and transparent in the delivery of our services," Rolon said.