ELGIN, Ill. (CBS) — After 25 years at the Elgin Police Department, Deputy Chief Cecil Smith is not heading into the twilight, but the limelight.
“It’s been heart-wrenching after 25 years in one location,” Smith, who was born on Chicago’s West Side, tells CBS 2’s Brad Edwards.
Some would say he’s stepping into the fire.
“Some have said that quite a bit,” Smith concedes.
That’s because he’ll be the new police chief of Sanford, Florida – where unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman.
“There has been a great deal of just racial distrust itself in the community,” Smith says of Sanford.
But that’s not unlike issues he’s dealt with in Elgin. He’ll be in Sanford next week, which will mark the one-year anniversary of Martin’s death. The previous police chief was ousted after the controversy rocked the community.
“Because it happened, now we have to make sure it never happens again,” Smith says. “I can’t tell you what I plan to do until I get my feet on the ground there.”