|Posted by Anne Siren on February 1, 2013 at 1:50 PM|
Lighthouse Point - Chief Ross Licata fits the old cliché, ‘Tall, dark and handsome’ and much more. He’s pleasant, approachable and above all, he continues to keep the residents safe and bring honors to his community, Lighthouse Point, or LHP.
He came to LHP in 2003 after retiring from the Delray Beach Police Department as a Police Commander. He says, “After 26 l/2 years in Delray I knew I was approaching the end of my career there. I heard that LHP was looking for a Chief. I applied for the job and was honored to get it. I was thrilled to be part of this smaller community with its home-town feel. I welcomed the opportunity to emphasize quality, community service which is very important here.”
The Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce chose Licata to be a Shining Star and Light of the Community at its annual 2012 award luncheon, held at the exclusive Hillsboro Club in LHP.
In 2010, with the help of Commander Mike Oh and the entire department, Chief Licata implemented a 26-camera License-Plate Recognition System in LHP. This system targets criminal offenders who travel into LHP to commit crimes. “Our city was a desirable target for criminals,” Licata says. “The main crimes were burglaries of vehicles, residences and business properties. Analysis showed us that the majority of the crimes were made by offenders living outside of the community. Criminals were driving here from other cities, usually from communities much further away. We wanted to catch these criminals when they entered LHP. A perimeter monitoring system, using license plate recognition, was implemented. In an effort to protect and improve quality of life for those who live in LHP, this project developed successful leads in criminal apprehension, criminal case clearances and the recovery of stolen property. To date, over 70 arrests for crimes including robbery, burglary, arson, auto theft, and fraud have been attributed to the benefits of this camera technology. The department has recovered over a half million dollars worth of stolen property.”
On Oct 1, 2012, Chief Ross Licata and Commander Mike Oh were flown to San Diego, California to receive the IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award for Quality in Law Enforcement for the ‘Transient Offender Interdiction Program’. One of three such awards were presented world-wide for promoting a standard of excellence that exemplifies law enforcement’s contribution and dedication to the quality of life in local communities.
And that’s not all. Licata was recently voted President of Broward County Chiefs of Police Association. He already serves as Broward County Director of the Florida Police Chiefs’ Association. He explains, “You might describe my function as being a conduit between Broward Chiefs and the Florida Police Chief Association. It keeps me connected to my counterparts in Broward County. I stay abreast of crime issues in the county and in the state. This enhanced relationship means I am very tuned into traveling criminals.”
A look at the man
Licata came to this area in Florida with his family when he was 14. He attended Coconut Creek High School. He says, “I was hired by the Delray Police Dept. when I was 19 and I already had a two-year degree. While working in the Department, I attended Palm Beach Atlantic College and earned a B.S. degree in Organizational Management. I built a career there and left because in the course of my career, I developed an interest in becoming a Police Chief.”
And now, as Police Chief, he heads up a department with 42 dedicated and sworn officers and support staff. He says, “Like every other small community, we must always remember that we are part of something much larger. Crime doesn’t know borders, and as part of the Miami Dade/Broward metro area, Lighthouse Point Police Department must always be focused on preventing criminal elements from violating the peace and safety of those who live in our city.”
He and his wife, Peggy, have two daughters and as of two weeks ago, they have three grandchildren, two boys and a girl. “We’re a close family and I spend whatever free time I have with my family. We all still live in Delray Beach.
He wraps up this interview saying, “Here in LHP our citizens get a great deal of personalized service. We have close ties with people. Some of our officers have been here for many years and established connections to many residents. Our commitment is to customer service and building positive community relations.”
Thank you, Chief Licata for your dedicated service to your community and for heading up a department that has brought many honors to LHP.