NEW SMYRNA BEACH — After almost eight years of service in the police department, New Smyrna Beach Police Chief Mike Coffin will retire on Friday.
“As I look forward to the next chapter in my career, I will always count the time as chief of police here as some of the best years of my life,” Coffin wrote in his retirement letter to City Manager Khalid Resheidat. “I am honored to have worked alongside of some of the best that this profession has to offer, and I am confident that they will continue to provide the high level of service that our citizens and visitors have come to expect.”
In an email to The News-Journal, Coffin said he hopes the police department “can maintain the principles of 21st century policing we used to lower the crime rate six years in a row, which keeps New Smyrna Beach the best, and one of the safest, beach towns in Florida.”
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“We did that by improving upon the professionalism in the agency and leading the way in addressing contemporary challenges in law enforcement,” Coffin wrote. “This included de-escalation training; crisis intervention training; autism awareness training; fair and impartial policing training; equipping all officers with the very best equipment; instituting a mandatory fitness program for all sworn personnel; leading the county in the use of civil citations; right sizing the fleet to efficient vehicles reducing our fuel consumption by more than 40%; and a host of community enhancement projects including K-9 for a Day and Shop with a Cop.”
He said another important achievement during his time as chief included requiring all department personnel to wear body cameras on duty, which “helped to improve our transparency and our relationships with the people we serve.”
Coffin said the challenges facing law enforcement nationally are “complex and polarizing.”
“Leaders that take ownership of the challenges by setting their egos aside and embracing servant leadership will be the most successful,” Coffin wrote. “Policing is changing, and leaders need to recognize that the old days of just locking people up as a first response to quality-of-life problems is not effective. Solving the underlying problem is a much better long-term solution, but requires a bigger investment in time and effort. City leaders need to buy into that philosophy and support it in every way.”
Coffin said he doesn’t not plan to relocate or to stop working.
“My personality doesn’t lend itself to being inactive, so I am exploring opportunities for my next professional challenge,” he wrote. “I love being a part of New Smyrna Beach and have no immediate plans to relocate my family.”
According to city spokesman Phil Veski, the department's deputy police chief, Eric Feldman, will serve as interim police chief after Coffin steps down.
Although the city has begun making replacement plans to ensure "a smooth transition,” according to Resheidat, it is unclear what the selection process looks like at this time.
“We thank Chief Coffin for his years of service to New Smyrna Beach and wish him success in his future endeavors,” Resheidat said. “His commitment to our community and efforts to lead a department that values transparency and accountability have been second to none.”
Coffin added: “This is an amazing place to live, and we should all take the time to really appreciate what we have in our beautiful beach town. It is a responsibility for all of us to make a positive contribution to our city each and every day, even in a small way. Help someone who needs it. Encourage someone who is trying to better themselves. Even small gestures like opening a door for someone, saying thank you, actively listening to others, and generally being nice are just a few ways that cost us nothing to make our city a better place to work and live.”
This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: NSB Police Chief Mike Coffin to retire after eight years of service