Historic: Cocoa officials select new police chief

Evander Collier IV to become first Black police chief of a municipality in Brevard County

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COCOA, Fla. – Cocoa officials are set to announce the selection of Evander Collier IV, who served as a lieutenant with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, as the riverfront city’s new police chief, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

The formal announcement from the city manager’s office is expected later in the day, but Thursday evening, several city councilmembers took to social media to offer congratulations to the 24-year veteran of law enforcement.

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Collier, who left the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in June 2020, is also set to make history, becoming the first Black police chief of a municipality in Brevard County.

“Evander Collier’s selection is a great day for the city of Cocoa,” City Councilmember Alex Goins said Thursday night. “Thanks to awesome leadership from City Manager Stockton Whitten, city staff, and the City Council-appointed Chief Selection Committee for their thorough and transparent process. We have 100% faith In Mr. Whitten’s decision.”

City and community leaders had recently selected five finalists for the chief’s position in a bid to name a replacement for Mike Cantaloupe who retired from the city’s top law enforcement job in December after three decades of service.

Cmdr. John Hankins was named interim police chief of the city of 18,000. The department has 110-sworn and civilian workers and a strong presence in the city’s community through outreach programs aimed at connecting youth with police officers.

In Jacksonville, Collier rose through the ranks — from patrol to community policing efforts — during his two-decade-plus career at the North Florida sheriff’s office, taking on assignments such as overseeing security for the 85,000-person capacity TIAA Bank Field football stadium.