Orlando Rolon appointed as first Hispanic chief of Orlando Police Department

Rolon is 25-year department veteran

By Anna Johnson - Digital Journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. - The new leader of the Orlando Police Department is a 25-year veteran of the organization.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced Thursday that Deputy Police Chief Orlando Rolon will be taking over as the 39th chief of the department. Rolon was selected from three candidates to replace current four-year Chief John Mina, who is retiring after 27 years with the department to run for Orange County sheriff.

"The OPD is the best law enforcement agency in the country," Rolon said. “I am so proud of the great work that you do each and every day."

Dyer said Rolon has served in "virtually every department" within OPD, working as a bureau chief, chief public safety council to the mayor and commander of the crisis negotiation team, among other positions. 

Encouraging relationships between officers and citizens is one of Rolon's main goals.

"We will continue our relentless efforts to reduce crime, build trust and protect the trust you have given us to serve and protect our community,” he said.

Almost 30 percent of Orlando's population considers themselves Hispanic or Latino, according to U.S. Census data. For the first time, Orlando's chief of police will reflect that population.

Rolon, who was born in Puerto Rico, will be the department's first Hispanic police chief. He's now a long-time resident of Orlando, having lived in the city for 41 years. He's a former Marine and a founding member of the Central Florida chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association. He's also bilingual. 

"I'm confident that under his strong, capable leadership, the OPD will continue to work diligently to protect our community against crime and will continue to promote diversity and inclusion both within the department and our community,” Dyer said.

During Rolon's official announcement event, Mina thanked Dyer and all the officers he has worked with during his time in the department. He also spoke of his hope for the department's future under its new leadership.

“You are in good hands," Mina said. "Orlando Rolon is going to be a great chief."

The appointment will go before the Orlando City Council on Oct. 22 for final confirmation. Mina's last day at the department is Oct. 26 and his retirement is effective Dec. 1.

Rolon said he looks forward to expanding on the policies Mina has set in place. The appointee also spoke of his gratitude for all the officers within the department, Mina, Dyer, his wife and the city of Orlando.

“I don’t take this responsibility lightly," Rolon said. "I will wake up every day committed to serving and protecting our community. Thank you for this honor.”

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