Palm Beach County public school leaders have tapped a new police chief to serve temporarily while they search for a long-term leader.
Patrick McCutcheon, currently the school district’s assistant police chief, was selected last week to be the interim chief after the current chief, Daniel Alexander, announced he was stepping down Friday.
If approved by the school board Wednesday, McCutcheon is expected to serve while district administrators conduct a national search for a more permanent replacement, a process that could take months.
[UPDATE: The school board approved McCutcheon's hire Wednesday evening.]
McCutcheon has served as the district’s assistant police chief since 2016. Prior to that, he worked 12 years in the district as an officer, lieutenant, commander and major, and before that as a Boca Raton police executive and sheriff’s deputy.
Son of former Palm Beach County sheriff
He is the son of former Palm Beach County Sheriff Charles McCutcheon, who served as sheriff from 1995-96 and as Boca Raton’s police chief from 1970 to 1980.
"I can't even remember a time when I didn't want to be involved in police work," McCutcheon told The Palm Beach Post in a 2003 interview. "I think it was always there."
McCutcheon steps into the role during a time of high turnover at the district’s police department. Two police chiefs have resigned in the past nine months, while the police union complains of high turnover and low morale among officers.
Union leaders have urged the school board to hand over control of the department to the sheriff’s office, arguing it is better equipped to manage the public schools’ policing duties. The move also would boost the salaries of the district’s officers.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Interim police chief tapped for Palm Beach County public schools