(May 27, 2016)- About 200 people from the community gathered to give Chief Bart Connelly a fantastic send-off to mark the conclusion of his 28-year career with the Cape Coral Police Department Wednesday afternoon.

The ceremony, held at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, was full of speeches and presentations from United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lee County Sheriff's Office, Southwest Florida Police Chiefs Association, Cape Coral Fire Chief, Cape Coral Mayor and City Manager, and Chief Connelly's wife.

Attendees included numerous community and business leaders, residents, City Managers from around SW Florida, Cape City Council members, City staff, Cape Coral Police Officers and volunteers, former and current police chiefs, local, state and federal law enforcement officers, US and State prosecutors, family and friends.

City manager John Szerlag said, "I've been a manager for a long time...and I've made thousands, if not tens of thousands of decisions.  One of the best decisions I've ever made was to promote you [Chief Connelly] to Police Chief."

FBI Senior Resident Agent in Charge James Rankin said of Chief Connelly, "Under Bart's leadership we've had an amazing partnership.  Whether we are talking about an act of terrorism or a violent crime...I'm very, very fortunate to have that." 

Rounding out the ceremony, Chief Connelly addressed the assembled crowd.  In his speech, Chief Connelly credited the department’s success to its members, both sworn and non-sworn and praised City leadership for supporting public safety and keeping the safety of the community priority.  He also challenged future Law Enforcement leaders to ensure their personnel remain safe and are not distracted in this era of increased scrutiny of law enforcement, and encouraged them to take care of their personnel and treat them fairly.

"Of the many accomplishments achieved by the agency, it is important to recognize that none of them would have been done without the hard work and dedication of its members. I cannot express how much I respect them all for their professionalism, innovation, and dedication to the citizens they serve. Our long-standing status as one of the safest cities its size in Florida, is directly attributable to their work and the efforts of our citizenry.  The future leadership of the organization is strong through experience and training and support from the FBI National Academy, Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Police Executive Research Forum,  International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Florida Police Chief’s Association, " Bart Connelly, Chief of Police.

Chief Connelly plans to get back into the workforce after a short break to spend time with family.  

Chief Bart Connelly is the eighth law enforcement professional to hold the title of Chief of Police at the Cape Coral Police Department.  Chief Connelly holds an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice from Edison College, a Bachelor of Liberal Studies from Barry University, and a Master of Science in Public Administration from Central Michigan University. He is a graduate of the 240th session of the FBI National Academy, the 10th session of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute Senior Leadership Program and the 35th session of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) Senior Management Institute for Police.  Bart serves on the Florida Police Chiefs Association Professional Standards Committee and is a Commissioner for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Bart also serves on the Lee County Human Services Council and the Florida Southwestern State College Criminal Justice Advisory Board.  

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CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT | Public Affairs Office | 1100 Cultural Park Boulevard | Cape Coral, FL 33990 | (239) 242-3341