Candidates for Sanford police chief job meet the community

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SANFORD, Fla. - Tuesday night for the first time, the five candidates in the running to be the next chief of police in Sanford met with the community.

Since the Trayvon Martin shooting many people believe the relationship with the Sanford Police Department and people in the community was damaged.

The candidates each talked about how they would deal with similar situations as well as the ongoing violence in the community.

"If I can see you for who you really are, that is the real you, and that is what we need in Sanford,' said Sanford resident Lovis Moore.

Whoever takes over the department is about to walk into a gun fight.

Since October, there have been nearly a dozen shootings in central Florida that police believe are tied to two Sanford neighborhoods, Goldsboro and the east side.

A newly created six-person task force believes the violence stems from a double homicide nearly a decade ago.

A Tuesday's meeting, each candidate told the dozens of residents who showed up how they would stop the violence. They expressed ideas like reaching out to kids, getting guns off the streets and improving police intelligence by talking to everyone from students to inmates.

But the candidates did not talk about the Martin case, which is the reason they are in the running for the chief's job.

"Everyone knows about the Trayvon Martin issue, and so therefor, why would they bring that up," said Sanford resident Carsandra Buie.

Former Police Chief Bill Lee resigned in the wake of the controversy.

The five people looking to replace him discussed similar controversies that they had to deal with in their own communities and what they think is the best was for a city to heal.

"Everyone had that right. It's trust in the community and uniting the communities together," said Buie.

Sanford's city manager said he expects to have a new chief hired and in place by March.