In early June 1956 residents, in what is now the southern most part of Lighthouse Point, fearing annexation from neighboring Pompano Beach decided to form their own incorporated city. On June 13, 1956 the residents met and voted on incorporation, which was overwhelmingly accepted, and the Town of Lighthouse Point was born, making it the 18th municipality in Broward County. Also voted in that day were the town’s first mayor and commissioners as well as the town’s first law enforcement officer, Marshall William E. Harrington.
Harrington remained Marshall of Lighthouse Point until the city received its charter in June of 1957 and became the City of Lighthouse Point. At that time the Marshall’s position was changed from an elected position to an appointed position and the Marshall’s Office became the Police Department. The city’s first patrol car was a very noticeable red station wagon and the first shoulder patch instituted was designed by one of the city residents and was used for the first few years. Harrington remained as the city’s top cop and was named Chief of Police and the city’s deputies became police officers. During this time City Hall was located in a storefront at 1811 N.E. 24th Street in the Beacon Light Shopping Center. The Police Department consisted of a single room inside City Hall.
On July 1st, 1958 Phil Grondin, one of the city’s first officers, was named acting Chief after William Harrington stepped down. Grondin was eventually named permanent Chief and stayed in that position until April 16th, 1968 when he moved back to New Jersey because of personal matters. During Grondin’s tenure many changes took place within the Police Department. Among some of those changes was that the police cars were now all one color, white with the city seal on the doors. Another change was that the Police Department first moved into the new City Hall at 2200 NE 38th Street in 1959 and then ultimately relocated to the new Police Department in 1965. The new building was constructed across the street from City Hall at its current location of 3760 NE 22nd Avenue and was designed to house both the Police and Fire Departments. It did so until the new Fire Station was build in 1974. Also during Grondin’s term he designated a new uniform patch. Grondin got his inspiration for the patch from the city seal and the patch was instituted in the early 1960’s. The patch was taupe in color and matched the uniform of that time. The Department, like the city, also expanded during this time and the department added additional officers. By the mid 1960’s there was a compliment of four full time officers.
On April 16th, 1968 Ellis Devoe was named as acting Chief to replace Grondin. Devoe was made permanent Chief on May 28th, 1968, but only stayed on until June 12th, 1968 because of health issues.
On May 22, 1969 Sergeant Lester Quick was named as the new Chief. During his tenure the Department expanded in size, from 8 to 20 full time officers. This expansion enabled the Department to form a detective bureau and harbor patrol. The color of the Department’s patrol cars also changed to a unique green, which according to Chief Quick, was to distinguish them from the Pompano and Deerfield Beach cars, which were white. The insignia on the doors was also changed to a large shield in place of the city seal. Chief Quick stayed on until January 16th, 1975 when he retired.
During the search fro the next Chief, Captain Don Pigman was appointed acting Chief and stayed in that position until the appointment of Chief Paul Mannino.
Mannino, a retiring New York City Police Department Captain and commander of the 17th precinct in Manhattan, took office as the new Chief on September 22, 1976. Mannino immediately changed the look of the Department. The patrol car colors were changed from the dark green to white with striping; the uniforms were changed from the taupe to the present day blue as were the uniform patches. By the time Mannino took office the city had already annexed all areas of present day Lighthouse Point and the Department had grown to a compliment of 30 officers. Mannino was Chief for over 22 years and retired on June 15th, 1998. Prior to his retirement, a new patch was introduced in 1996 and was the patch worn by the Department up until 2003.
One June 16th, 1998 Deputy Chief Kim Tierney was appointed as Chief Mannino’s successor and was the Chief of Police until 2003. Chief Tierney was a former City of Milwaukee police officer, graduate of the FBI Academy and holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Chief Tierney was a very progressive leader and instituted numerous technologies to take the Department into the next century. Chief Tierney retired from the Lighthouse Point Police Department in 2003 to accept a position with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
During the search for the next Chief, Commander Charles Marchitello was appointed acting Chief and stayed in that position until the appointment of Chief Ross Licata.
In June of 2003 the City of Lighthouse Point conducted a nation search to replace Chief Kim Tierney following her retirement. Over 90 applicants applied for the position, and after an extensive selection process, Chief Ross Licata was selected from the finalists. On August 4, 2003 Chief Licata was sworn in as the new Police Chief by Mayor Fred Schorr. Chief Licata began his new law enforcement career with the Delray Beach Police Department where he served for over 26 years. During that time he served in Patrol, Criminal Investigations and Community Policing ultimately rising through the ranks to the position of District Commander where he oversaw a Community Patrol District and the Department’s Support Services Division. Chief Licata holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management from Palm Beach Atlantic University and is a graduate of the 197th Session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He also attended the Senior Management Institute for Police (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard) and the 10th Command Officers Development Course (Southern Police Institute, University of Louisville). Chief Licata is a member of the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association, Florida Police Chiefs and International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Chief Licata is an advocate for Community Policing and Problem Solving and is focusing the Department’s attention on building a strong alliance with the citizens and merchants of Lighthouse Point. The mission of the Department is to provide those who live, work and play in this City with “Excellence in Service” in all that we do!
New Police Facility
In March of 2003 the residents of Lighthouse Point approved a bond referendum which included funding to build a new state-of-the-art police facility. Originally, the plan was to build a new police facility on the parcel of land where the existing police facility and Dixon Ahl Hall were located, however; those plans changed when owners of the North Broward Preparatory School, located next to City Hall, decided to relocate to Coconut Creek. Chief Licata and the City’s Architect conducted a site plan analysis and determined that the site (which was considerably larger) would provide improved benefits compared to the existing Police Department property. The City purchased the North Broward Preparatory School property in 2005 and plans immediately began to take shape for the renovation of the existing school. On July 7, 2006, after a year of construction, the Lighthouse Point Police Department moved into their new state-of-the-art police facility. Many distinguished guests, including Congressman Clay Shaw, were on hand to dedicate the new facility and to celebrate the City’s 50th anniversary. Today, the Lighthouse Point Police Department occupies a beautiful 14,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility. This facility is equipped with the latest high tech security equipment and offers an emergency operations center, training and conference room, fitness center, holding facility, sally port and much more. The old police facility, which served as police headquarters since 1965 was demolished in 2007.