Cecil Smith, deputy chief of the Elgin, Il., police department, has been tapped as chief in Sanford, Fl., site of last year’s controversial Trayvon Martin shooting. City Manager Norton Bonaparte offered the job to Smith, 51, at an salary of $110,469. Smith would succeed Bill Lee, who was fired last year in the controversy over how Sanford police handled the Martin investigation.
Smith was one of five finalists — and one of two black candidates — who traveled to Sanford to meet with city leaders and residents about the job. The finalists were chosen from 76 applicants. Smith started his law enforcement career at the Elgin Police Department as a patrol officer in 1988. David Kaptain, mayor of the 110,000-resident city near Chicago, said he has known Smith for 20 years and called him a “top-notch” police officer. “He knows very well how to deal with the community and build relationships,” Kaptain said. “People trust him and people like him. But he’ll also tell you the truth.”