Fort Lauderdale hires new police chief college hoops fans may recognize

Larry Scirotto refs basketball games and was assistant chief in Pittsburgh

Larry Scirotto has been selected by the city manager to become Fort Lauderdale's next police chief. (Photo courtesy of City of Fort Lauderdale)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The city of Fort Lauderdale has identified a “sole finalist” for its chief of police position. Larry Scirotto is expected to join the department in mid-August, City Manager Chris Lagerbloom announced Tuesday.

If you’re a hardcore college basketball fan and that name sounds familiar, it’s because Scirotto also works as an NCAA referee.

As for his law enforcement credentials, Scirotto was formerly the assistant police chief in Pittsburgh. He spent 23 years in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and was the youngest assistant chief in that department’s history.

“Chief Scirotto emerged as the clear, sole finalist after a thorough year-long process in the search for a new leader of our department,” Lagerbloom said in a statement. “We were looking for someone who would be a collaborative leader, both with the community and the rank and file. We wanted someone who can shepherd this department into a new era of policing, build trust and keep the needs of our diverse community at the forefront. I believe we’ve found that.”

Scirotto has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Ashworth University and a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. He’s also a master’s degree candidate in Organizational Development and Leadership at Saint Joseph’s University.

“He comes to us at an important moment in law enforcement as departments nationwide work to ensure community trust and that everyone is treated equally and fairly in interactions with officers,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said in a tweet.

The city says that interim Chief Patrick Lynn “will remain to assist in the transition.”

The previous chief Rick Maglione was reassigned in July. FLPD had been criticized for its handling of downtown protests on May 31 and the aftermath, but Lagerbloom said at the time that there wasn’t one event that led to the change.

“Make no mistake we’ve had events occur in our police department in the last month, but I can tell you there’s not been one event that has been the decision-making event,” Lagerbloom said in July.