Bonifay City Council called a special meeting on June 2 to vote for a new police chief and full time deputy. Jimmy Macon and Johnny Whitaker were approved for the positions, respectively.
The council voted for the disbanding the police department in the beginning of May after the top three leadership positions were vacant due to the resignation of longtime chief Chris Wells
the passing of Deputy Chief Greg Yancey, who was second in command, and the termination of third in command, Sgt. Jody Long. Long is facing a first degree misdemeanor battery charge stemming from Longâ€™s alleged use of excessive force captured by a body camera during a domestic disturbance call March 27.
The council passed a motion to place the departmentâ€™s remaining three full-time officers â€“ White with 33 years of service, Betty Sims with 25 years of service and newer hire George Record.
The Holmes County Sheriffâ€™s Office has been patrolling the city in the meantime and will continue to do so until the BPD is reopened.
Mayor Dr. Emily McCann addressed this during the meeting explaining that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is handling an audit of all the evidence in possession of BPD. The task was larger than expected causing FDLE to need a full team to handle the task.
â€œFDLE came out with two investigators but promptly figured out it was a much larger job than two could handle,â€ McCann said. â€œFDLE is assembling a team to handle the audit. We are setting a tentative date of June 19, to have BPD back patrolling our streets.â€
Of the more than 40 applicants for the chief position, Macon scored at the top of the list. The Council voted unanimously to hire Macon as the new police chief. Macon recently relocated to the area after serving as chief of a city in northern Alabama.
Lacking one full-time officer position, numerous applicants vied for the job. Council voted unanimously to hire retired Florida Highway Patrolman Johnny Whitaker to fill the position.
While the position of deputy chief is vacant and had applicants, the council decided Macon would be the person to choose who his second in command would be.
â€œI look forward to being in this position and making Bonifay a city and a department Iâ€™d be proud to call homeâ€ Macon said.
â€œIâ€™m really excited about the direction the Bonifay Police Department is heading,â€ said McCann. â€œI think that not only with the addition of Mr. Macon and Mr. Whitaker, but we have also just strengthened an already wonderful core of BPD.â€
The Bonifay City Council will meet again in regular session on June 5, at 6 p.m.