CCPD interim chief named ahead of Chief Connelly’s retirement

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CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Deputy Chief Dave Newlan was appointed Thursday as interim police chief of the Cape Coral Police Department ahead of Chief Bart Connelly’s retirement.

Connelly is retiring on Tuesday after serving the last three years as chief and 28 years overall with the department.

Worried about possible changes to his pension plan, Connelly entered a deferred retirement option five years ago to secure his pension, which now forces him to retire. BartConnellyCapeCoral1

“The time that I have spent leading this organization has been so rewarding,” Connelly said. “I still have a passion to serve, I still have a passion to work in public service. So I anticipate after a short break I’ll be back serving the community. Hopefully be here in Southwest Florida.”

Connelly says one of the biggest challenges during his tenure was taking over after an economic downturn with limited funding and resources.

“We were to the point of not doing more with less, but less with less,” Connelly explained. “It took a great deal of resolve for members of our organization who worked tirelessly to continue to do the things that they do on limited budget.”

Connelly adds he believes one of the biggest problems the city faces going forward is its dangerous roadways.

“We have way too many people getting hurt on our roads from traffic crashes.”

Budgets restraints forced the department to trim down its traffic unit. Since then, the number of crashes has increased significantly every year.

Regarding violent crime, Connelly says two unsolved murder cases during his time with the department still bother him.

In 1990, 11-year-old Robin Cornell and 32-year-old Lisa Story were suffocated in their Cape Coral apartment. In 2014, Al Griffiths was gunned down outside a TJ Maxx. The killers in both cases have never been found.

“Both those cases remain very active and we stay on them diligently, so I’m confident they will be solved and I’m confident that the leadership of this organization will continue to treat them with the seriousness that we have under my tenure,” Connelly said.

Interim Police Chief Dave Newlan

Taking over as chief is Newlan, Connelly’s second in command, who’s been with the department for more than 20 years.

“We share the same values, we share the same philosophies relative to law enforcement and he’s ready to take the reigns of the organization,” Connelly said referring to the new interim police chief.

Captain Lisa Barnes was also appointed Thursday to become the department’s new interim deputy chief.

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