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Panama City Beach police chief becomes new city manager

Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 8:24 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman is hanging up his badge to take over as city manager. He’s no stranger to locals as he’s served on the police force for 30 years, the last nine as chief. Now the city council has given him another challenge, but one he says he’s ready for.

“I’m not here to sit back and kickback. I want to get in the dirt and make some differences,” said Whitman.

Differences Whitman said will begin with attending meetings with Interim City Manager Al Shortt and city council members next week.

Whitman said it’ll be a slow transition process, but worth it for the learning experience.

“I want to make sure that people realize I’m doing this for the city and not a big paycheck,” said Whitman.

He said he applied for the city manager job to give back to the community.

“I love this place and I think it’s time I step up and help out the best I can,” said Whitman.

While Whitman is stepping up in the city, Deputy Chief Chad Lindsey is stepping into the role of interim chief of police. Lindsey says when they start to look for a new chief of police, they’ll look for qualities they saw in Whitman.

“The Department needs someone to continue our legacy, to continue our mission statement, to continue our vision statement,” said Lindsey.

Lindsey said with the integrity he’s seen from Whitman as police chief, he believes the city will see the same type of leadership from him in this new role.

“I think he’ll just expand his leadership from outside of a law enforcement role to more of a city-wide role,” said Lindsey.

Whitman said throughout his new leadership role, he plans to be open and honest.

“I’ve worked hard for my integrity. I won’t give that up for anything,” said Whitman.

Whitman said his best interest is for the city and he plans to make the city the best place possible. He adds he’ll become the official city manager sometime in April.

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