Jamaican-American now Lauderhill Chief of Police

Jamaican-American and former Lauderdale Lakes Chief of Police, Andrew Smalling, was on Thursday (Sept. 15) sworn in as the Chief of Police for the City of Lauderhill – a city with a high concentration of Jamaican and Caribbean residents.

The move from being in charge of a police department of a city of some 30,000 residents to one of over 70,000, is a huge step for the new police chief. However Smalling, who spent his early years in Jones Town - an inner city community in Jamaica, sees it as a significant challenge he is prepared for and welcomes.

In an interview with National Weekly shortly after the ceremony, Smalling said he has two immediate objectives.

The first is to direct the Lauderhill Police Department to be community oriented with the goal of enhancing relationships between the department and the community. He will work to ensure that the police becomes positively involved with homeowners (including stepping up neighborhood-watch programs), general residents and the business community and wants the department to take an active role in the city's chamber of commerce.

Lauderhill youth will be a special focus in this community outreach as he definitely wants the department to have a positive influence on the youth. He said already efforts were underway through a community police project to work with youth in the city's Windermere community. Plans are also underway for the police department to be involved in a special Halloween community project, with officers handing out candy to the city's children.

The chief's second objective is to eradicate crime from Lauderhill. One immediate plan to fight crime is the implementation of a Street Narcotic Unit to rid the city of drug trading and drug-use activities. He also wants to eliminate youth criminal gang activity, and the correlation between drugs and gangs.

Though he's lived in the U.S. most of his life, Smalling has not forgotten his Jamaican roots and is a keen observer of crime fighting activities in that country. He is disappointed that Jones Town has become notorious for criminal activity.

Indicative of his interest in youth and community development, in 2004 while attending the first Jamaica Diaspora Conference in Kingston, he made a proposal to the then P.J. Patterson Administration to establish a School Resource Officers Program with the police providing a secure environment for students. The proposal was adapted and implemented by the Jamaican government under his guidance.

Inherent desire to serve and protect

Growing up in Jones Town, Smalling felt the stirrings of becoming involved in crime prevention and community organization. However, it would take 21 years for him to fulfill his childhood ambition when he joined the Broward Sheriff Office (BSO).

Smalling migrated from Jamaica with his family at age eight and settled in New York, where he attended high school. He later relocated to Florida where he pursued a bachelor's degree at the Florida Institute of Technology, and a master's degree in criminal justice administration at Lynn University in Boca Raton. After college Smalling joined the U.S. Marine Corp. While serving he made up his mind to join law enforcement and became a Broward sheriff in 1991.

During his 19 and a half years tenure with BSO, Smalling served as a school resource officer, a narcotics detective, K-9 Unit Commander, and for the past 11 years Lauderdale Lakes' police chief. He succeeds Lauderhill's Police Chief Kenneth Pachnek.

Chief Smalling's vast leadership roles, including his Marine Corps success as an intelligence officer, will surely be an asset to the Lauderhill Police Department. He is very familiar with the city, having headed the police force of Lauderhill's neighboring community for the past decade.

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