Published: Jan 10, 2014 5:38 PM EST
Updated: Jan 10, 2014 5:50 PM EST

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Cape Coral Police Chief Bart Connelly has been the top cop, officially, for a week. He's telling only WINK News about his plans for the success of the department, the challenges it faces, and his strict message for criminals. 

Police Chief Bart Connelly is the new leader of the department he's served for 25 years. He's hesitant to talk about himself, but instead, promotes his passion for Cape PD.   

"The department is not about me. It's about everyone in the organization, everybody coming together to make the department the best it can be," he said. 

He tells WINK News his plan for success is to increase community outreach, through social media sites, and face to face meetings. As for his officers, "They're going to bend over backwards to help people, and that's my expectation," said Chief Connelly. 

His message to criminals is clear cut. "One: They can stop illegal activity. Or two: they're going to spend a lot of time with Mike Scott or Rick Scott's hotels - Lee County Jail, or Florida State Prison.It's as simple as that. Third option, they can move out of the city if they like. It's up them," Connelly said. 

His challenge, he says, is to work within the confines of a budget and with a limited number of staff.

When the economy dipped, the department cut jobs, as it improves he hopes to increase hiring and decrease crime and collisions. "Traffic fatalities are up, our injuries are up. Crashes are up, so I have to get officers out there for traffic enforcement, it's a specialty unit that we've got to backfill."

The police department will be hosting Coffee With a Cop, similar to what the Fort Myers Police Department has done, Tuesday, January 14, 2014.


According to Cape PD: 

Officers from the Cape Coral Police Department and community members will come together in an informal, neutral space to discuss community issues, build relationships, and drink coffee.

All community members are invited to attend. The event begins at 8:00 AM on January 14, 2014at McDonald’s located at 1751 Del Prado Boulevard South.