New Area Top Cop

DeFuniak Springs’ new police chief was formally sworn-in to office Monday night.

Michael Atkinson, Jr., was hired to replace Chief Ray Burgess who resigned late this summer.

Atkinson comes to DeFuniak Springs from the Tallahassee Police Department. He is also an instructor at the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy in Tallahassee and served seven years with the state in Monticello.

Atkinson will serve out the remainder of former Chief Ray Burgess’ term. The police chief’s job is an elected one in DeFuniak Springs.

The new chief says his top priority will be keeping an active program in place to track and monitor sexual offenders in the town, followed by school security issues.

Atkinson told NewsChannel Seven he also want to have accredited policy manuals for the department and he plans to get private citizens more involved in their police department through citizen initiatives.