Chief Umberger's focus since becoming Chief of Police is to build relationships. When hired, he said, “I pledge to work hard to earn the trust of the officers and staff of the Department as well as the members of the entire community of DeLand. Together we will work hard to build strong relationships with all we serve, reduce the incidence of crime and the fear of crime and keep our community safe."
Since his hiring, Chief Umberger has stuck to his promise. He is always very visible and approachable in the DeLand community. He's often seen walking in Downtown DeLand or having coffee with some of his deputies at Trilogy Coffee Roasters. Building trust among his officers and bridging positive relationships between the department and community has been obvious as seen in local headlines.
Another law enforcement leader who is also very visible in West Volusia is Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood. Prior to his role as Sheriff, Chitwood was the Chief of Police for Daytona Beach for ten years. He was sword in as Sheriff on January 3, 2017, about 5 months before Chief Umberger was hired as DeLand Police Chief.
Like Umberger, Chitwood is very visible and involved in the community. He was recently seen as part of a high-speed chase where Chitwood personally pulled the perpetrator from his vehicle. (link). Other than being more visible, he increases officer patrols in key areas of the county as part of his anti-crime strategy. This also includes increased patrols of Air 1, the Sheriff Department's helicopter. In addition to being approachable and visible, a key focus of his time in office has been on school safety. Since the Parkland shooting, Sheriff Chitwood has vowed to do everything in his power to prevent such a tragedy happening in Volusia County.
West Volusia is blessed to have two great law enforcement leaders that are vigilantly working to help residents feel safe. If you ever see Chief Umberger or Sheriff Chitwood, don't be a stranger. They are happy to chat with residents or visitors alike.