DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis announced the appointment of Cedric Alexander as the new chief of the DeKalb County Police Department Feb. 20.
Ellis said public safety is DeKalb County’s number one priority and that Alexander will help move the department forward. Alexander will begin April 1.
Currently, Alexander is the federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration branch of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Alexander has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, a master’s in marriage and family counseling and an associate’s degree in sociology. He previously served as chief of the Rochester Police Department and began his law enforcement career as a police officer in Miami.
“One unique thing about DeKalb County is that it is a wonderfully aggressive and diverse community in a way that I think it deserves the best from all of us,” Alexander said.
Recently, several DeKalb County officers were arrested for allegedly providing security to drug dealers. Alexander said it was important for officers or residents not to focus on the bad actions of a few “rogue cops.”
“It is very easy for us to focus on the negative things that have occurred but, quite frankly, it is no use to us—we’ve got to move forward,” Alexander said. “Ninety-nine percent of the men and women inside this department do a good job every day and we need to acknowledge that.”
Alexander warned that any police officers involved in illegal activity would be caught and swiftly dealt with.
“Every call for service that you have is a new opportunity to show people that we’re proud to be DeKalb police officers—you do it one call at a time,” Alexander said.
Although Alexander doesn’t begin until April, he said he has already met with DeKalb’s Board of Commissioners and visited several of the county’s police precincts to meet officers.
Alexander said the first thing he wants to do when he starts is go out with “the boots on the ground,” or the officers on the street, and assess the challenges they face daily.
“I want to get to know people and I want them to understand that this chief, going forward, knows what their challenges are,” Alexander said.
Both Ellis and Alexander said that the county is still in a budget crunch and it may be a while before officers and other county employees see a pay increase. However, Ellis said that he is working on a long-term strategy to increase pay for all county employees.