DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- At first glance, Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capril comes off as a no-name clone to his decade-long predecessor, Mike Chitwood, who left in November for passages that are not now so green since his swearing in as sheriff back on Jan. 3.
Chitwood would hold monthly compstat meetings where crime trends were analyzed. Capri has continued that program. Chitwood would make himself visible on a bicycle in the urban areas of the tourist-driven city that features Daytona International Speedway -- home of the Daytona 500 -- and the hard-sands of the World's Most Famous Beach -- Capri has done the same thing, though a squad car remains his prime mobility mode.
And like Chitwood, Capri has readily made himself available to the TV news camera crews, but minus the verbal bravado and name caliing on-scene. And here's anoher starke difference, which demonstrates Capri is his own person: There's no on-camera berating of anyone.
This Hall of Fame profile recognition a testament to the strength and determination of the home grown cop in Capri, who, through his experience and instincts in working his way up the chain of command, has since made the commitment to day-to-day interaction with every-day people.
This, as such, is in stark contrast to Chitwood's self-serving photo opps with politicians and business insiders, having built his larger-than-life personna infront of TV news cameras and going off on alleged criminals at large, and even taking shots a some of his own rank-and-file cops caught up in scrapes while remaining silent on a couple of senior admistrators carrying out their own agendas, who retired before Capri took over.
And while Chitwood has taken his sorry act to DeLand and the larger of the two largest law enforcement agencies in Volusia County with a lot of white noise, Capri has quietly and methodically begun the arduous task of bringing morale back up within the cop shop and building new bridges throughout the city.
While Daytona Beach remains a hotbed of violent crime fueled by run-down neighborhoods where the cast majority of its inhabitants are simply guilty of being poor, these communities remain infested with the criminal element of street-level dsrug dealers, hookers and their pimps, street walkers and hustlers -- mostly aggressive panhandlers, things have begun to quiet down.