Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tallahassee police chief to head juvenile justice

Gov. Charlie Crist is set to name Police Chief Walter McNeil to head the Dept. of Juvenile Justice. McNeil will become the second Democrat appointed to a high-level post under Crist.

From the Buzz:

He replaces Anthony Schembri, whose efforts to revamp the agency met various controversy, including the boot camp death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the beating incident in Panama City.

“It’s very encouraging news,” said Anderson family attorney Ben Crump. “Walt McNeil is a person who cares deeply about people. I know him to be a good man.”

McNeil, 51, would be the second prominent Democrat in Crist's administration and the highest profile African American. He has been police chief since 1997 and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master's in criminal justice from St. Johns University in Louisiana. He is married and has three children, age 30 to 15.

McNeil had applied to become the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He takes a job that was aggressively sought by former state Rep. Gus Barreiro of Miami Beach, who lead the charge to close boot camps.

Though we don't know much about McNeil's politics at this point - we're looking into that now - Democrats seem to be excited about the move. Check out the comments to the Buzz post. He seems to have done a pretty good job at TPD.

McNeil will take over for Anthony Schembi, who Crist announced yesterday would not remain at DJJ. Though juvenile crime has dropped under Schembi, he has not been able to shake the effects of the Martin Lee Anderson death.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too bad he couldn't get a real Masters Degree from a real University. Wonder if he knows it is illegal to publish a bogus degree.