New chief to take over embattled Punta Gorda Police Dept.

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Chief Pamela R. Davis/ WINK News

Chief Pamela R. Davis will take over the Punta Gorda Police Department on Jan. 2, 2018.

Davis, who will be the first woman to lead the Punta Gorda Police Department, will replace former police chief Tom Lewis.

Lewis was acquitted of culpable negligence in the August 2016 death of retired librarian Mary Knowlton, who was gunned down by former officer Lee Coel during a “shoot-don’t shoot” citizens academy training exercise.

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During Davis’ first 30 to 90 days she plans to assess the entire department, from leadership to policies, training and focusing on community policing.

Chief Pamela R. Davis

In an effort to improve the department’s image, Davis plans to establish a citizens chief advisory council so the community has more access to the chief.

“I want those officers out there in those community meetings,” Davis said. “I think it’s important that the communities know the names of the officers who are actually out patrolling the areas.”

Davis has not made any final plans about the future of the Citizen’s Police Academy and police demonstrations, but she says it will be reviewed so what happened to Knowlton never happens again.

“I very much believe in being, that the police are apart of the community, that we’re going to work together to make this the safest community, the safest city,” Davis said.

Prior to Davis’ current position, she served 23 years with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, working up the ranks from Patrol Officer to Deputy Chief of Police.

LINK: More on Davis from the Baltimore Police Department

WINK News Kristi Gross spoke exclusively to Chief Pamela R. Davis on Wednesday. Watch the entire interview:

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