City supports Cocoa police chief despite complaint, unpopularity with officers

Chief Evander Collier cleared of racial discrimination complaint this summer

Following an investigation earlier this year, Cocoa Police Chief Evander Collier was cleared of an accusation regarding racial discrimination. However, city officials said Collier was still sent to racial sensitivity training.

COCOA, Fla. – Since he was sworn in last year, the city of Cocoa says Chief Evander Collier has helped reduce crime and led a more diverse police force. But a report from July says the city’s first Black police chief was investigated for racial comments to two of his officers.

The officers of Asian descent claimed the chief said to them while they worked together at their desks, “What is this, a family reunion?”

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Collier said his comments were not based on race and he just meant it was nice to see the officers working together.

The private investigator found there was no racial discrimination. The city’s public information officer said the chief still received discrimination training.

“Our police chief was responsible for bringing accountability and integrity to a department,” Samantha Senger said.

The city manager’s office is also supporting the chief after the police union this week said 80% of Cocoa officers, sergeants and lieutenants voted they have no confidence in Collier.

The union’s Facebook post claimed the chief’s “missteps” and “poor decisions” are to blame for vacancies.

The city responded that job turnover is comparable to other law enforcement agencies.

“To say that they’ve been caused by this chief coming in now is just inaccurate,” Senger said. “Some of the officers might not like the change, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad thing for the community.”

While it’s not on the agenda, Senger said to expect the criticism of the chief to be brought up at next week’s city council meeting.

About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.