After almost 28 years with the Montgomery County Police Department, 5th District Commander David Gillespie is heading for the sunshine and warm breezes of Florida.
Gillespie, who has been the commander of the 5th District-Germantown since March of 2013 has been named the new Police Chief of the Melbourne Police Department in Melbourne, FL.
The appointment will take effect sometime in May or June, according to Gillespie. “We are still working on a date. I will be leaving here sometime in May.”
On Monday, the City of Melbourne put out a press release announcing Gillespie as its selection as new Chief of Police. Gillespie sent an email to officers of the 5th District on Friday.
“Leaving Montgomery County is extremely difficult to do,” said Gillespie. “I grew up here in Montgomery County, and the people and friendship that I have in this area are going to be greatly missed. I will miss that more than anything.”
“We had a tremendous pool of more than 130 candidates for this position and an absolutely top-notch group of finalists who came to Melbourne last week to meet the community and interview for the Chief’s job," said Melbourne City Manager Mike McNees.
"In David Gillespie, I believe we have selected just the right man to lead an already outstanding department into the future, and in Melbourne, that is an exciting future. I am grateful to the Melbourne City Council members, representatives of the community, and particularly the employees of the Melbourne Police Department who participated in this selection process. It was truly a team effort, and I believe we will be well served by Chief Gillespie.”
Melbourne is a city in Brevard County, about 45 minutes southeast of Orlando on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 76,068. The municipality is the second-largest in the county by both size and population. Melbourne is a principal city of the Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. Gillespie will be replacing Chief Steve Mimbs who is retiring from the Melbourne Police Department after 37 years of service.
Gillespie has been the commander at the 5th District headquarters since March of 2013, during his time there he has seen much growth in the Germantown area from the construction of Holy Cross Hospital –Germantown to the Clarksburg Premium Outlets, and the exploding development in the Clarksburg area.
“Melbourne is in some ways very similar to the Germantown area,” said Gillespie. “They have a growing community and growing economy. There is about 169 officers in Melbourne, which is just a little bigger police force than here in 5D where we have 143. The community itself has a lot of similarities. They have a central business district, and many of the things that need to be done there are similar to the issues and growth we have experienced here. In the last four years we’ve added the hospital, the outlets, and the Wegmans shopping center, and there is a lot more to come, and we have been able to plan for the future, and the Melbourne area is facing similar growth to their economy. I will take my experience here to those new communities and keep them safe.”
Gillespie spent the early part of his career with MCPD in the 4th District in Silver Spring. After working up through ranks as a sergeant in the narcotics division, he served as deputy director of the 4th District from 2002 to 2004, before moving on to be deputy director of the MCPD Training Academy. From there he spent four years as the director of the MCPD Special Investigations Division, and just prior to taking over as Commander in 5D, Gillespie was with the Major Crimes Division for two years.
“One thing that really stands out is the importance of collaborating between all the working parts in the community,” said Gillespie when asked what his experience in Germantown has taught him. “One of the most important keys to being successful is getting various community entities to work together, and in conjunction with providing police services to keep those communities safe and engaged with law enforcement. Making sure that the community understands the efforts of the police department; how we operate, how we handle calls for service, and how we do outreach. So they see police officers as real people who care as opposed to rigid cops who are just there to do a job writing tickets without concern for people or situations.”
Gillespie said that the move south is something that was a bit of surprise. “This change came up much quicker that I had anticipated. While I applied for the position, I didn’t have a great desire to leave at this point in career, but this opportunity has come up. I know I have more to give in terms of being a police officer and leading police officers. There are challenges ahead of me in Melbourne, the change is that I will be giving what I have left down there as opposed to up here in Montgomery County,” said Gillespie. “I look forward working with the people in Melbourne. It is a great city and a fantastic opportunity.”
As for Gillespie’s replacement in Germantown, according to MCPD spokesman Officer Rick Goodale, “It is entirely up to the discretion of Chief Manger. Since there is no hard date for Commander Gillespie to leave yet, no decision has been made.”
“Chief Manger will select a replacement for me here in Germantown,” said Gillespie. “There is a good group of captains from which he has to select a new district commander for Germantown. I am certain that the person that will replace me is going to hit the ground running and do a heck of a job.”
Goodale said the new 5D Commander would be chosen from the pool of current captains within the ranks of the MCPD, or a new Captain could be named and appointed to the post. He also said that shuffling current commanders from other districts is a possibility.
Top: MCPD Captain David Gillespie will be leaving his post in as District Commander of the 5th District in Germantown to take a new post as Chief of Police for the City of Melbourne, Fla.
Next: The Melbourne Beach Pier in Melbourne Beach. By Fl295 at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Next: Capt. David Gillespie.
Next: The 5th District – Germantown.
File Photos by Germantown Pulse.