EATONVILLE, Fla. — There’s a new chief in the town of Eatonville.
Chief Stanley Murray brings his faith and 28 years of experience with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to the position.
He spent five of those years as an SRO at Oakridge High School.
“It was almost as if, if I may use the word destiny,” Murray said.
Murray joined the Navy at 17 and is a 22-year retired Gulf and Iraq war veteran.
Channel 9 met with him days after he was sworn in and asked about his plans to lead the department and historic town.
“We’re going to have to be honest,” Murray said. “I mean, we’ll probably double occupancy by next year.”
Murray said the department currently has 12 officers.
“Going to have to hit the streets,” Murray said. “I’m going to have to get to some of these academies and introduce myself. I’m about to show them that they’re necessary and needed. And really my own guys are where I start.”
The department is within walking distance from Eatonville’s Smith’s Motel also known as Hometown Suites.
“What we don’t want to do is just keep ignoring what’s just not ignorable,” Murray said.
The motel is a home to some and to others a target for crime. Channel 9 has done multiple reports of fatal incidents at the property and the former police chief revealed last year that officers were called to the location more than 500 times.
“The ultimate goal is also to remember; that we’re dealing with people,” Murray said. “II’s very easy to say what to do. But we’re dealing with human beings.”
Murray said he’s working with city managers and the council about dealing with the property.
It’s hard to miss the street in front of it. The town’s main street connects it to Maitland and Winter Park.
“Kennedy Boulevard is a busy road,” Murray said. “We’re looking at addressing that too.”
Chief Murray said one of his main goals is to work on relationships with the community and make sure police and the people they serve feel seen and heard.
“I promise I have the best of intentions for what I’m doing not just for me but for my team and this town,” Murray said.
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