Tom Weschler, the Naples Police Chief, is retiring after more than 15 years with the department, and Friday was his last day.
Chief Weschler said Friday is a melancholic day and that he’s going to miss the people and relationships he’s built over the last 15 years.
He’s proud of the department and everything it stands for but said it’s time for him to pass the baton.
“I’ve served for 45 years and 30 years with Miami Beach, 15 years here. And it’s just time I’m ready to go enjoy myself and enjoy my family and just spend some time. But the people you come across in this job are amazing,” said Chief Weschler.
During his tenure, he worked as a detective in major crimes, the juvenile unit and the narcotics unit. But now he’s looking forward to taking a trip to Spain with his wife. He’s proud of the department he represented for so long.
“I was thinking about that. Just the things that we’ve been through and 15 years, we had a recession, we had civil unrest down on Fifth Ave South, we had a major hurricane, we had COVID. It’s just so many things have happened to that. But again, our troops, they always stand up to the challenge, and did a wonderful job,” said Chief Weschler. “But those are the bad things, the good things again, are the people just coming across the different folks here has been fantastic.”
WINK News spoke with city manager Jay Boodheshwar. He said the search for the next police chief is already in full swing, and they already have a list of candidates.
“My goal is to is to be able to name the next chief by the end of August,” said Boodheshwar.
Whoever leads the department next, Chief Weschler maintains a steadfastly positive outlook about the future.
Matthew Fletcher, who’s been with the department for 30 years, and serves as one of the two assistant chiefs, has been appointed as interim chief. His new role will take effect at the end of Friday.