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For nearly a year, Fort Lauderdale’s troubled police department has been without a permanent leader, with two different acting chiefs taking over while a nationwide search was conducted.
Larry Scirotto, a retired assistant chief from Pittsburgh, will take over in mid-August. Scirotto, 48, will earn $ 200,000 a year overseeing the agency’s 530 sworn officers and 179 civilians. The start date of him: August 16.
City Manager Chris Lagerbloom shared the news Tuesday with command staff and the department’s base.
Retired Miami Assistant Chief Dennis Jackson
Lagerbloom made his pick from a list of eight semi-finalists: Fort Lauderdale Assistant Chief Frank Sousa, Fort Lauderdale Major Dana Swisher, Fort Lauderdale Captain Bill Schultz, Retired Miami Assistant Chief Dennis Jackson, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman, Chief Orlando Orlando Rolon and Houston Assistant Principal Heather Morris.
Rolon recently dropped out of the race, saying he wanted to stay in Orlando.
“Chief Scirotto brings extensive experience with a background in patrol, investigation and administration,” Lagerbloom said. “He is a 23-year veteran of the Pittsburgh Police Bureau and was the youngest deputy chief in the history of that department.”
Larry Scirotto, a former assistant chief of police in Pittsburgh, has been appointed to head the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
Larry Scirotto, a former assistant chief of police in Pittsburgh, has been appointed to head the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. (City of Fort Lauderdale / Courtesy)
The news that a chief was finally chosen was a relief to Fort Lauderdale police officers, said Detective Brandon Diaz, the union’s president.
“After a year of uncertainty, putting this behind us and moving on will be a good thing for everyone in the police department,” Diaz said. “Our officers deserve some stability, which they will eventually get.”
In Pittsburgh, Scirotto devised strategies to reduce and solve violent crime, Lagerbloom said. He also reorganized the Violent Crimes Unit combining homicide, aggravated assault and robbery investigations into a single unit to prioritize crimes against individuals.
As deputy chief, Scirotto was responsible for oversight of police office accreditation, policy development, labor management, internal investigations, and criminal intelligence and education.
He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Ashworth University and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Organizational Development and Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University. He also graduated from Northwestern University School of Command and Police Personnel.
Fort Lauderdale’s new boss is a fitness enthusiast and a college basketball referee. Last year, he was chosen to be one of the umpires to officiate at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis.
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department has been without a permanent leader since July 9.
That day, Lagerbloom demoted former boss Rick Maglione from boss to major.
The reorganization came five days after Maglione released a public statement defending the actions his officers took during a May 31 protest over the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets, contributing to the chaotic and violent scene. The police accused the protesters of starting it all when they threw stones, bricks and fireworks.