Deputy Chief Blackledge Retires After 33 Years
By Space Coast Daily // September 25, 2013
Blackledge officially retires Sept. 26
ABOVE VIDEO:The Palm Bay Police Department was recently re-accredited by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation.
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – One of Palm Bay’s finest law enforcement leaders is retiring after 33-years of serving the citizens of what is now Central Florida’s second-largest municipality and has become one of the top five safest cities in the region.
Deputy Chief John Blackledge officially retires on September 26, 2013. The mayor and council will send him off with a special proclamation of gratitude during the council meeting which will be held on Thursday, October 3rd beginning at 7 p.m.
Deputy Chief Blackledge began his career with Palm Bay in September of 1980. Since that time he served in Uniformed Services, Criminal Investigations and Professional Standards Divisions as an officer, field training officer, marine officer, mounted patrol, narcotics agent, supervisor and commander.
He was promoted through the ranks and served as sergeant, lieutenant, major and deputy chief where he has been assigned to oversee uniformed services and the communications center since 2011. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and is an FDLE certified legal instructor.
“The city will miss his leadership and continuous guidance,” said newly promoted Captain Tim Zander.
Deputy Chief Blackledge is regarded as a well-established, highly respected law enforcement officer and professional who is considered an expert in the legal field and is often sought to provide education and training to police officers and new recruits. “The city will miss his leadership and continuous guidance,” said newly promoted Captain Tim Zander.
“His drive, knowledge, dedication, heart and soul will never be matched.”
LEAD LEGAL INSTRUCTOR AT EFSC FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS
Deputy Chief Blackledge has also been the lead legal instructor at the Institute of Public Safety at Eastern Florida State College for more than 20 years. “There are good law enforcement officers and there are good law enforcement leaders. Over the past three decades Deputy Chief Blackledge has been such a fine law enforcement leader that people forget that he bridged the gap between the two,” said Mark Foskey who worked 16-years as a Palm Bay police officer before retiring and becoming a police dispatcher.
“He is the finest law enforcement leader and officer I have ever had the pleasure to work with.”
Among his most notable contributions to the Palm Bay Police Department is his work to develop the first of its kind local DNA database and building unique public-private partnerships to bring new and innovative initiatives to the city.
“Throughout his 33-year career with Palm Bay Deputy Chief Blackledge has been a mentor, leader and innovator,” said City Manager Sue Hann.
“He has consistently been an extraordinary role model for dedication, initiative and integrity. The city and the police department have benefitted greatly from his decades of service to the community.”
Deputy Chief Blackledge began the South Brevard Detectives group as a way to build partnerships with other law enforcement agencies to share information, solve crimes and improve public safety.
BLACKLEDGE ‘ONE OF THE MOST IMPACTFUL POLICE LEADERS’
“The crime reduction Palm Bay has experienced, being at the forefront of innovative police technologies to fight crime, and an ability to produce collaborative partnerships with both the private and public sector has made Deputy Chief Blackledge one of the most respected and impactful police leaders of our time,” said Captain Jim Rogers.
“His commitment in making Palm Bay one of the safest cities to live and providing officers with tools to do their job safer is unmatched. Undoubtedly, he will be missed and it won’t be easy to keep the pace he has set.”
Deputy Chief Blackledge is also highly regarded for his dedication to victim oriented policing. In April of this year Brevard-Seminole State Attorney Phil Archer recognized Blackledge with the Howard Futch Memorial Leadership Award during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
“John has the heart of a warrior and the soul of an activist. The hole he will leave in the law enforcement community is immense and will not be filled for years to come.” – Beth Rossman
Deputy Chief Blackledge was recognized for his instrumental role in establishing the South County Rape Treatment Center. “We would not have this facility without him,” said Beth Rossman, an investigator and former head of victim-witness services with the Brevard-Seminole State Attorney’s Office.
“John has the heart of a warrior and the soul of an activist. The hole he will leave in the law enforcement community is immense and will not be filled for years to come.”
BLACKLEDGE’S PROGRESSIVE APPROACH TO PUBLIC SAFTEY
Deputy Chief Blackledge spent 24 of his 33 years with Palm Bay in a leadership role emphasizing teamwork, professionalism, safety and forward-thinking, progressive approaches to public safety.
“John was and will always be a true leader who always tried to find a way to do things better,” said Chief Doug Muldoon.
“He is passionate about police work and the law and passing that knowledge on to others. His dedication to this agency and the impact he made here is something we will always remember and be grateful for having experienced. He truly is the best of the best. We wish him well, thank him for his service and will miss him greatly.”