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West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James announces major changes in police department

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Posted at 9:40 AM, May 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-14 18:33:47-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The city of West Palm Beach and Mayor Keith James announced big changes within the police department on Tuesday.

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At an afternoon news conference, Mayor James said Police Chief Sarah Mooney will no longer serve in her current role.

"I didn't think we were making progress the way I wanted to make progress," said Mayor James. "And I think it's time for a fresh set of eyes to look at the department to see if we can move to where I think we need to be as a city."

Mooney has accepted a new position as Chief of Police for Emergency Management, which is subject to approval by the West Palm Beach City Commission.

"Chief Mooney has the experience and leadership needed to lead this effort," said Mayor James. "Given Chief Mooney's talents in emergency management, she is ideally suited for this role."

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Mayor James nominated former Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley to lead the West Palm Beach Police Department. That move is also subject to the approval of the West Palm Beach City Commission.

Adderley served as Fort Lauderdale’s chief of police from 2008 to 2016, and has spent almost 40 years in law enforcement.

"I am confident he will take the West Palm Beach Police Department to the next level," said Mayor James.

Adderley also worked at the Broward Sheriff's Office but was dismissed in January when the new BSO chief was hired, according to the Sun Sentinel. The paper said Adderley, who was part of then-suspended Sheriff Scott Israel’s command staff, oversaw community outreach and the civil division, as well as courthouse operations and the 911 communications system.

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Frank Adderley (file photo)

WPTV asked Mayor James on Tuesday if Chief Mooney's reassignment is a demotion.

"If you judge demotion by less money, no. She's making the same money she was making as chief," said Mayor James. "The title is different, and her responsibilities clearly are different. But I think she will do a wonderful job in this position."

In her new role, Chief Mooney will help "plan, direct and coordinate emergency management and training activities for the city, resolve problems of the highest technical nature, and participate in the determination and formulation of emergency management policies."

Chief Mooney is not commenting on the transition, and the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association is also not commenting.

These items will be discussed at a city commission meeting on June 3.

Adderley will be formally introduced to the public on Thursday.