Eric Smith officially sworn in as Orlando’s new police chief

Chief Orlando Rolón retired after serving 30 years with OPD, 4 years as chief

The new chief of the Orlando Police Department was officially sworn in on Wednesday.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The new chief of the Orlando Police Department was officially sworn in on Wednesday.

During a change of command ceremony at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, city leaders marked the transition from Chief Orlando Rolón to Chief Eric Smith.

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During the ceremony, Rolón was thanked for his 30 years with OPD and for serving as the city’s first Hispanic chief of police.

During his four years as chief, Rolón led the agency through the COVID-19 pandemic as law enforcement nationwide was under intense scrutiny.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced Deputy Chief Eric Smith is set to take over the leadership of the city’s police department following the announcement of Chief Orlando Rolón’s retirement after serving three years in the position.

Rolón said he was proud of his accomplishments, which included growing the department, increasing transparency and establishing youth outreach.

“I mentioned I was tasked with taking this great agency to the next level for the next chief of police. I believe this was accomplished,” Rolón said.

Before leaving the stage, Rolón announced his next job as the National Director of Operations for BCC Construction Group.

Mayor Buddy Dyer then swore in Eric Smith as the 40th chief of the Orlando Police Department.

Orlando Chief of Police Orlando Rolón submitted his retirement letter to the mayor’s office Wednesday after nearly four years in the position.

Over his 27 years at OPD, Smith served in nearly every role, including on the SWAT team and as the high-risk incident commander. He listed several priorities as the new chief.

“Fighting violent crime. There’s been a spike in violent crime, we can’t have that,” Smith said. “Then also while we’re doing that, maintaining our ties and increasing our ties with the community.”

Another goal mentioned was increasing the number of women in the department to 30%.

Smith said he’ll be drawing on the experience of past chiefs to guide his future decisions.

“(If) I take all the great things I learn from them from over the years and put that together with who I am, I think we’ll get a great result,” Smith said.

This comes as the city of Orlando has endured shootings and scares over the past few months.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.