Last week, Village Manager Steve Williamson announced that he had settled on a person to replace Charles Press, who left the police chief post back in July.
Francis “Frank” Sousa, 41, has accepted Williamson's offer and will be taking control of the police department, which was run by Press for 17 years.
Deputy Chief Jason Younes took the reins as the interim chief in July.
Sousa spent 22 years — 15 of those in a supervisory or command capacity — with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, lately serving as the interim assistant police chief. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Sousa had been in the running for Fort Lauderdale’s top post but lost out to Pittsburgh Assistant Police Chief Larry Scirotto back in August.
In Key Biscayne, Sousa emerged as the front-runner among 28 applicants in a nationwide search that began in June and was whittled to seven — all from Florida — by an assigned trio of law enforcement officials.
“We listened to what our residents wanted — someone who will be a strong leader while becoming an integral part of the fabric of this community — and I know that Francis will be welcomed by all our residents,” said Village Manager Steve Williamson, who has been on the job just over four months.
“The Village of Key Biscayne is a thriving, engaged community that embraces diversity,” Sousa said. “I am looking forward to being a part of the Key Biscayne Police Department and the community. The KBPD is known for being an ethical and fair force that works closely with the residents to find solutions. My goal is to bring a new perspective into an already amazing team.”
Key Biscayne perennially ranks among the “Safest Cities” lists in Florida and the nation.
The other police chief finalist was former Miami-Dade County Police Director Thomas “Pat” Hanlon, who recently retired to much fanfare after a lengthy career helping oversee Super Bowl games, rioting, hurricanes, and even papal and presidential visits.
According to the Miami Herald, Sousa oversaw a staff of 530 officers during his 15-month stint in the interim role.
Sousa, a native of New England, moved to Miami with his family as a teen. He received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement from Florida International University and holds a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern.
The advertised salary range is $150,000 to $180,000.
Village Council members were so impressed with Younes’ work that at last Tuesday night’s final budget hearing, they voted to give him a $5,000 one-time bonus. Under his supervision, his staff kept juvenile crime virtually nonexistent and, lately, has had to keep cycling pelotons under control speeding in on the Rickenbacker Causeway.
Younes also was asked to quickly arrange department budget needs — he asked for one deputy position to be reclassified as a lieutenant and also asked for two new officers (that was approved by Council last Tuesday night, although with a caveat, pending on what Sousa actually suggests).
Sousa is due to take over his duties as police chief on October 18, according to Williamson.