PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — The Panama City Beach Police Department is officially under new leadership. Thursday morning, Chief J.R. Talamantez was sworn into his new role.
Talamantez is now the sixth Chief of Police on the beach.
“I’m just extremely humbled and excited to be the new Police Chief,” Talamantez said.
Talamantez has been with the Panama City Beach Police for 17 years, working in all areas of law enforcement.
“I like to say I grew up in Panama City Beach because I did,” he said.
At the ceremony, he was surrounded by his family and friends. He took the time to thank his wife, who he said: “is the calm in the storm.” When the stressors of his job can be too much she calms him down and helps him focus. He said he would not be here today if it wasn’t for his wife.
You could feel the support for him in the room. Panama City Beach City Manager and former Police Chief, Drew Whitman, said he is proud of Talamantez and he will be a great role model.
“He’s a natural leader,” Whitman said. “I can train anyone to be a supervisor but it’s hard to find a leader, a leader is born. Tal was born a true leader.”
Talamantez said his goal is to leave the agency even better than how he found it. He said he is a progressive thinker and he is ready to lead.
“If anything my heart is in this profession and my heart is with this community and I think by my actions the community will see that all our intentions are true and we are dedicated to the public safety of this town,” Talamantez said.
Chief Talamantez is stepping into his new role on Memorial Day Weekend. This could possibly be one of the busiest of the year, but he feels prepared and so does the rest of the department.
“This is not our first rodeo,” Talamantez said. “I have a team in place that has been here through the previous administration.”
He said they are planning for the things that are expected and the things that will catch them by surprise. Talamantez said he knows where to look and he’s ready.
“We welcome everyone to Panama City Beach as long as they remember to be safe and don’t do anything here you wouldn’t do at home,” Talamantez said.
Talamantez replaces Drew Whitman who is now the City Manager for Panama City Beach.