By: Joanie Cox-Henry Contributing Writer
It was a sea of tears and cheers inside the Atlantic Community High School Auditorium on April 5 as the Delray Beach Police Department bid farewell to Chief Jeff Goldman and welcomed its new chief, Javaro Sims.
The transfer of power happened through a Change of Command Ceremony, which was the first of its kind in Delray Beach.
The elaborate ceremony opened with a processional led by Palm Beach County Firefighters Pipes and Drums and a presentation of Colors by DBPD Honor Guard. Officer Anna Reinhart offered a moving rendition of the national anthem which was followed by a prayer by Pastor Jovan Davis. “May Chief Sims be committed to making this city a better and safer place for all to live,” Davis said.
After 30 years of service to the city of Delray Beach, Goldman will transition to his new role as director of security services for American Express.
It was a decision that didn’t come lightly for Goldman, who was hired by the Delray Beach Police Department on May 15, 1989.
“I started out as a 20 year old kid, just wanting to make a difference,” Goldman said. “Looking back over the past 30 years, I have no regrets. I’m living proof that if you work hard, value people and have passion, you can achieve whatever you want.”
During his police career, Goldman earned a masters degree and said crime dropped by seven percent during his time as chief. He also cleverly introduced “the chelfie” and was frequently spotted on the streets of Delray Beach snapping selfies with citizens around the city. As part of the Change of Command Ceremony, he reached for his selfie stick one last time to take a “cheflie” with the crowd.
Interim City Manger Neal de Jesus said Goldman set the bar in many ways through his leadership.
“Jeff leads by example and I’m proud to have served alongside him and to have developed a friendship with him,” De Jesus said.
De Jesus then presented Goldman with an honorary fire chief hat and an ax as he quipped, “I thought it was finally time to give you the ax.”
AVDA President and CEO Pam O’Brien and Board Chair Beverly Cordner presented Goldman with a plaque for his decade of service to Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse.
Goldman then had an emotional radio sign off as Delray Beach Police Chief for the very last time.
Sims, who was assistant chief, was then sworn in as the Delray Beach Police Department’s 16th Chief of Police.
His daughter, who is in the U.S. Navy, pinned his badge on him. Sims was also proudly celebrating 27 years of marriage to his wife and the recent milestone of his Air Force veteran father’s 90th birthday.
“The Delray Beach Police Department will continue to move forward,” Sims said. “The Delray Beach Police Department is only as strong as the community we serve. Together we stand: one Delray, one community, one police department.”
With a masters degree in criminal justice from Lynn University and nearly 27 years of police experience, Sims is already making history as the first African American chief of Police for Delray Beach.
“I was originally hired by the Delray Beach Police Department on Sept. 28, 1992,” Sims said. “Back then, Delray was a ghost town. Now it’s a three time All-American City. Law enforcement has allowed me to work hand-in-hand with people in the community and that’s something I value deeply.”