Crowd Packs Commish Chambers for Fewless Oath of Office



It looked like a law enforcement parade Thursday evening when Fruitland Park administered the oath of office to newly appointed Police Chief Michael Fewless.

Eighteen law enforcement leaders from nine Florida jurisdictions in Lake, Orange, Osceola, Sumter and Volusia counties joined more than 60 friends, family and residents for the swearing ceremony.

Fewless takes office on August 1.

Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings led the list of law enforcement dignitaries, which included representatives from Lady Lake, Bunnell, Windermere, Kissimmee, Orlando, Ponce Inlet and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Fewless, 55, 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 takes over from Lake County Sheriff’s Captain Todd English, who has served as Interim Police Chief since March.

Fewless introduced his mother, a Villages resident, his stepdad, uncle, aunt, wife, brother, daughter, son, an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy, and two grandchildren.

“I’ve been a law enforcement officer for 31 years and I truly believe in the honor of this badge,” Fewless said.

“I will hold members of this agency to that standard. We expect professionalism. We expect integrity. We expect ethics. We have a lot of good people here. Just watch this poise agency grow,” he said.

Commissioners also presented a commemorative plaque to Capt. English.

Fewless took the podium again to thank English.

“He has made my job so much easier,” Fewless said. “So many times, when someone gets assigned to a temporary position, they just fill up the hours and maintain the status quo. Captain English didn’t do that. From Day One, he started rewriting policies and addressing employee issues and Todd, you have made my job so much easier and I’m grateful.”

Police Lieutenant Dennis Cutter then presented English with parting gifts—a gun-mounted LED light from the city and a chronometer wristwatch from Fruitland Park police officers.

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