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St. Petersburg's Gilliam Backs Out Of Tallahassee's Top Cop Job

Gilliam wears a suit and tie. He sits alone at a square table with a microphone. Gilliam looks toward the camera.
Robbie Gaffney

Tallahassee is police-chief-less after the man hired for the job rescinded his acceptance of the offer. City Manager Reese Goad says the move was unexpected, but City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow says the city shouldn't be surprised. 

St. Petersburg's Antonio Gilliam was named Tallahassee’s new police chief on December 4th following a months-long search. But things broke down as Gilliam negotiated his contract with the city. According to Commissioner Jeremy Matlow, Gilliam wanted the ability to hire and fire his own command staff and a six-year deal where he could only be fired for-cause. But he didn’t get those two things. Matlow says those were  “reasonable demands” given the current rate of shootings and murders in the city, and the contentious relationship between former TPD Chief Mike DeLeo and some city and county officials.

In a series of tweets, Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow outlines how negotiations between the city and Antonio Gillium broke down.
Credit twitter
In a series of tweets, Tallahassee City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow outlines how negotiations between the city and Antonio Gillium broke down.

Matlow made those statements in a series of tweets.

City Manager Reese Goad says he’s disappointed by Gilliam’s decision and  says the city will take time to figure out its next steps. Steve Outlaw will remain interim Chief of Police for now.

"This news is unexpected, and I am disappointed that he has chosen to step away at this point in the process. We will take the time necessary to determine next steps in moving forward. In the meantime, Chief Steve Outlaw will continue to lead the department. I have full confidence in the Tallahassee Police Department and their ability to continue meeting the challenges we face as a community and the expectations of our residents," Goad said in a statement. 

Gilliam is a Tallahassee native and has worked in law enforcement for 18 years. Before being named TPD Chief he was assistant chief in St. Petersburg. He was the only external finalist for the job, the other two--Lawrence Revell and Lonnie Scott are current TPD employees. Revell was rumored to be the front-runner, before County Commissioner Bill Proctor raised concerns about a 1990's-era officer-involved shooting where Revell killed a black man. 

Previous TPD chief's have been able to pick their own command staff.




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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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