NEW TOP COP STARTS AUGUST 1

Michael A. Fewless Fruitland Park's new Police Chief

Michael A. Fewless Fruitland Park’s new Police Chief

Fruitland Park has appointed Orange County Sheriff’s Captain Michael A. Fewless Chief of Police.

Fewless, 55, earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Religion from Liberty University in Virginia and joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1985. He currently heads the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange (CFIX), one of more than 70 Homeland Security “fusion centers” located throughout the U.S. to help coordinate intelligence information between local and federal agencies to combat terrorism.

Over his 30-year career with Orange County, Fewless has twice headed the agency’s Internal Affairs division and served as director of the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division and as Watch Commander.

Fewless came under fire in 2011 when he lobbied a state senate committee considering a bill to allow gun owners with concealed weapons permits to carry their weapons openly.

Acting in conjunction with the Florida Sheriff’s Association, Fewless showed committee members photographs of outlaw gang members  who would be permitted to carry weapons openly if the bill passed.

While Florida law prohibits the identification of concealed carry permit holders, Fewless was cleared of any wrongdoing. In April, a Tarpon Springs attorney filed a civil suit against the Sheriff’s Office over the matter. The attorney claimed it took three years to prepare the claim because of difficulty in locating the gang members Fewless identified.

Married for 35 years, Fewless has two children. His son is a Sheriff’s Deputy in Orange County and his daughter serves as Director of Development for the Union Rescue Mission in Orlando. That agency operates the city’s homeless shelters.

“I’m looking forward to restoring professionalism, ethics and dignity to the office of the chief of this agency,” Fewless told city commissioners Thursday evening.

“This city has been through an unfortunate time and we want to move past that. We want to make Fruitland Park the best agency within this county and I look forward to that challenge,” he said.

Fewless replaces former Police Chief Terry Isaacs, who resigned in March after an EEOC complaint that was later withdrawn.

Lake County Sheriff’s Captain Todd English has served as Interim Police Chief since April.

Last month, English terminated one police officer and accepted the resignation of a second after an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement revealed they had failed to turn over the personal property of an arrest suspect who was an FDLE undercover agent. The State Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the officers.

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