Larry Scirotto, the new police chief for Fort Lauderdale, said he is all about transparency and building relations with communities.
When that happens, he said police can do a much better job protecting the neighborhoods they serve.
Scirotto raised his right hand and became Ft. Lauderdale’s newest police chief Tuesday afternoon. He is now in charge of more than 500 officers and almost 200 civilian-serving residents.
“In many people’s this is the most turbulent times in our professions history and I wouldn’t disagree,” Scirotto told the audience at his swearing in ceremony.
Scirotto says he is here to make a difference. He had a two-decade career in Pittsburgh where he rose to be the assistant chief.
“Policing gives me purpose. The impact and influence a leader can have in an organization and community we serve matters,” Scirotto said.
Last summer, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department came under criticism when video showed an officer pushing a woman who was kneeling during a protest after the death of George Floyd.
Another video showed a Fort Lauderdale officer shooting a protestor with a rubber bullet -- two incidents that brought criticism to the department.
Scirotto takes over from two interim chiefs and was selected after a nationwide search.
“I want a great relationship between police and communities that haven’t access in the past,” he said.
NBC 6 sat down with the new chief after the swearing in ceremony. He sent a message to communities who many times feel the police are not on their side.
“The reality of it is that every office, every professional staff person that works for FLPD has to prioritize community police partnerships and that is, we have done a really good job of making it a responsibility of a select few, but it isn’t. It's the responsibility of every officer that works in this organization,” Scirotto said.
When it comes to holding officers accountable when complaints come in, he told NBC 6, “transparency and accountability go hand in hand. We are accountable to the community that we service. I am accountable to my officers. They are accountable to our community and in that there’s nothing to hide.”
The head of the Citizens Investigative Panel in Fort Lauderdale, Christina Currie, sent NBC 6 a statement supporting Ft. Lauderdale’s decision selecting Scirotto.
“I found Chief Larry Scirotto to be the strongest of all eight candidates presented. I think residents and city staff will find his diverse personal background and career history to be a welcome change in Fort Lauderdale," Currie said. "I found that Chief Scirotto's career history offered concrete examples of his ability to be an impactful leader who can meet the immediate needs of our city. He provided a variety of examples of programs and strategies which were dynamic, relevant and would be a good fit for Fort Lauderdale.”
The new chief is not shying away from anyone raising their voices if they are unhappy with him or the department. He is one of the top college basketball referees in the country and fans on both sides are giving him an earful all the time.
To hear more of Ft. Lauderdale Police Chief Larry Scirotto’s interview with NBC 6 click here.