Editor’s Note: This is the 10th in a series of 24 articles published by The Apopka Voice in 2017 that were among the most noteworthy. We will post all of them from December 26th and December 31st. Then on Monday, January 1st we will poll our readers and let them decide which is Apopka’s biggest story of 2017.

Story #10: Captain Randy Fernandez promoted to Deputy Chief of the Apopka Police department

First published August 2nd, 2017

It’s been over five years since the Apopka Police Department had a deputy chief, but at a Tuesday morning meeting, Michael McKinley remedied that vacancy with a well-known Apopkan that has over 25 years of law enforcement experience.

McKinley, the Chief of the APD, took his time and got to know the officers he leads before deciding.

“When I was first hired as (APD) police chief, I have given the opportunity to bring in a deputy chief, but I wanted to step back and look at the personnel in-house. We have a lot of talent in Apopka, and in the last two years, I have seen it in action. Randy knows everything about Apopka. He knows a lot about both the fire and police departments. His experience is invaluable. He bought into my vision for this department. He is well-deserving of this promotion.”

At that Tuesday morning meeting, McKinley promoted Captain Randall Fernandez to Deputy Chief of the APD.

Fernandez started with the city in 1989 at the fire department and became a sworn law enforcement officer in 1991. He held many ranks within the AFD and conducted arson investigations for years until earning the position of fire chief in 2006. In 2008, Fernandez joined the ranks of the APD as a commander and managed various divisions within the organization. Fernandez holds a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from UCF, and multiple degrees from Valencia College, including Business Administration and Human Resources management.

“It’s certainly an honor to work side-by-side in this manner with Chief McKinley,” said Fernandez. “I like his style. And to be working in this position to advance the careers of so many talented officers through succession planning is a privilege. For him to put his faith in me means a great deal.”

Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave or retire. It’s an important way to develop employees who have the current skills – or the potential skills – that can help them move up in an organization, or on to other positions. McKinley is putting Fernandez in charge of this process as deputy chief, and it’s his opinion that succession planning should have a high priority.

“It’s important we do this now,” he said. “If we do it properly, we can prepare our current and future department heads and officers for success when it comes their time. Succession planning is about growing people, and cultivating their potential for the future of this department.”

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