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Gainesville picks White as new interim police chief
Nichols retired from position Wednesday
0318Chad White
New interim Gainesville Police Chief Chad White

Chad White on Wednesday was named the new interim police chief for the Gainesville Police Department, but he won’t seek the post permanently.

White, who had been captain of support services, is a 20-year veteran of the department and the second interim chief at the 120-person agency since Frank Hooper retired on Dec. 31.

“He’s been with the department for many years, and he’s very familiar with the operations of the department,” said Gainesville City Manager Kip Padgett, who made the appointment. “I think he’ll do a great job in the role of interim chief.”

White, 42, said he was “honored to be named to the position of interim chief. It’s certainly a position I don’t take lightly, and I really look forward to it.”

White said he has not applied for the permanent police chief position.

“I’m comfortable right now in the position of captain, and I still have some goals in that bureau before I move up,” White said. “I am, however, interested in the deputy chief’s position, when it comes available in the future.”

Former Deputy Chief Jane Nichols was interim chief from Jan. 1 until Wednesday.

Nichols, a 28-year veteran of the department, gave notice of her retirement on Feb. 17.

Nichols told The Times this week that she chose not to apply for the chief’s position.

“Twenty-eight years is a long time to do anything,” Nichols said. “I have served every position and every rank in the police department and absolutely loved being a Gainesville police officer, but it’s time to go.”

Nichols put in her notice after learning the city planned to advertise the position for both outside and internal applicants. She also has said her style of speaking her mind may not have been well-suited for the politics involved in being police chief.

“I wish it had played out a little differently,” Nichols said. “I know everybody’s doing what they think’s best, and I’ve got no ill will or hard feelings toward anybody.”

Nichols said she had been “thinking and praying about retirement for about a year,” and “this was just the right thing to do and the right time to do it.”

Nichols said she would have “just three things to say” to her colleagues before leaving: “Thank you, God bless you and carry on.”
White said during his time as interim chief, he will concentrate on continuing the transition into the department’s new public safety building, which remains under construction. As support services bureau commander, White has been involved in the project for the past 18 months.

White said the leadership within the department is strong.

“I just want us to continue operating like we’ve been operating,” White said. “Right now we’re in great shape. The department’s as solid as it’s ever been. Morale is great. Of course, we’re anxious to see who the next chief’s going to be.”

Padgett said interviews for job will begin Monday. So far officials have narrowed the list of 70-plus applicants to 12 candidates. City officials hope to have a new police chief hired in four to six weeks, Padgett said.

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