Sanford Florida Police Chief Ready For Zimmerman Verdict

Source: Daniel Trotta / Reuters

In a once-segregated Southern town where a shooting death last year ignited a dispute that polarized America, the new police chief has embraced a simple tactic. He calls it the “walk and talk.”

Barely 100 days into the job, Cecil Smith has also moved beyond the neighborhood known as Goldsboro and into white, Hispanic and mixed neighborhoods. He has ordered his 130 officers to get out of their cruisers and engage the public. They hand out business cards with their cell phone numbers.

His efforts could be put to the test in the coming days, with a six-woman jury soon to begin deliberations on a verdict for Zimmerman, who is accused of second-degree murder for shooting Martin. Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, was armed, and Martin, 17-years old and black, was unarmed.

Even though Smith’s police force has put measures in place ahead of the verdict, the chief said he expects calm on the streets of Sanford, in central Florida, where protests broke out after the shooting last year and soon spread across the country.

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