History - Office of the Chief


Chief Paul O’Connell

2011 – 2021: Chief O’Connell joined the Wilton Manors Police Department in 2011 after retiring as a District Chief from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office following 33 years of service. Upon his arrival, Chief O’Connell installed a new mission for the agency in that “The Wilton Manors Police Department is committed to policing with a passion for our profession and with compassion for those we serve,” and every day he led the members of the department using this motto. His commitment to excellence in accreditation was evident leading the WMPD in achieving re-accreditation with the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation three times. Among the many awards and accolades, Chief O'Connell was selected by the Anti-Defamation League for its 2013 ADL Florida Excellence in Law Enforcement Award, and he was honored by the Urban League of Broward County as a 2021 Champion for Change. He was also a graduate of the 251st session of the FBI National Academy. Chief O'Connell retired from the WMPD in April of 2021 after 44 years of service to the law enforcement profession.

Chief Richard Wierzbicki

Chief Richard Wierzbicki
1999 - 2006

1999 - 2006:  Chief Wierzbicki began his law enforcement career in 1981 when he joined the Wilton Manors Police Department as a patrol officer. His career accomplishments led him to be appointed to Chief of Police in 1999. During his tenure, he worked tirelessly to help those who were less fortunate. He was a visionary when it came to working to protect vulnerable communities from hate crimes, and he searched for solutions to end homelessness. An ally for the LGBTQ+ community, Chief Wierzbicki was very sensitive to diversity, and he believed it was his duty to protect those who lived, worked and visited Wilton Manors. He also donated his time to the Salvation Army, the Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center of Broward County, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. Chief Wierzbicki retired from the WMPD in 2006 after serving the Island City for 25 years.

Police Badge GOLDChief Stephen Kenneth
1989 - 1999

1989 - 1999: Chief Kenneth joined the City’s workforce at the age of 18 as a volunteer firefighter, and in 1973 migrated to the law enforcement side of the first responder profession becoming a patrol officer for the agency. He was selected to lead the agency in 1989 where he continued his devotion to community policing philosophies. Chief Kenneth ensured he and the agency were extremely accessible to those they served, and any citizen was welcome to visit his office to discuss any topic. His commitment to public service, and his impeccable integrity were the core values used to lead the professionals of the WMPD. During his tenure, Chief Kenneth served as the President of the Broward County Chief of Police Association. Chief Kenneth retired in 1999 after serving the profession for 26 years.

Police Badge GOLDChief Bernard Scott
1966 - 1989

1966 - 1989:  Chief Scott took over the reins of the police department at the young age of 30. He was the youngest police chief in the State of Florida, and he led the 21-member department until 1989.

Police Badge GOLDChief Harold Gair
1961 - 1966

1961 - 1966: Chief Gair began his Chief of Police tenure in 1961. He was promoted from within the agency, and he led the department for five years until 1966.

Police Badge GOLDChief Thomas Brace
1957 - 1961

1957 - 1961:  In June of 1957 Thomas Brace was promoted from within the police department to Chief of Police. It was under Chief Brace's watch that in 1957 the police department moved to the new Municipal Center at 524 N.E. 21 Court. This new building cost $163,000 and it would house the 10-man police department.