New Jupiter police chief wants to continue improving department

The town didn’t look far to find its next police chief.

Jupiter bid farewell to longtime Chief Frank Kitzerow on June 28, and the following day it announced Deputy Chief Daniel Kerr would take his place.

Kerr, who spoke at Kitzerow’s farewell ceremony at the Jupiter Community Center, brings nearly a half-century of law enforcement experience to the town.

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He spent the past nine years as deputy chief under Kitzerow, but has served as chief of police twice — for five years in Vienna, Va., and for 12 years in Winter Springs — and is a 20-year veteran of the Fairfax (Va.) Police Department.

Kerr, 69, a native of Cumberland, Md., chose to pursue a career in law enforcement after spending much of his childhood shadowing his father, who was a Maryland state trooper.

“Occasionally I would ride with him, or he would pick me up somewhere if I needed a ride home,” Kerr said. “Invariably he’d get a call, like a bad traffic accident, and I saw how much he really liked his job and how people who are in distress need someone who really cares about them. I saw how he helped people all the time. It kind of inspired me to help people.”

Kerr left college early at age 21 to join the police department in his hometown. He quickly moved on to the Fairfax Police Department, working his way up to major.

RELATED: Jupiter police to get Active Shooter Response System

He finished college during that time, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from American University in Washington, D.C. He later earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Phoenix.

“I continued my education while I was working,” he said. “I actually found that to be beneficial, because you could apply some of the things that you were learning to what you actually were doing in the street.”

After leaving Fairfax, he spent five years as chief of police in Vienna, Va., before taking the same position in Winter Springs. There, he started a citizens’ advisory committee and also became involved in charity work.

He left that position after 12 years to become the director of Police, Fire & Rescue Training at Seminole State College of Florida in Sanford.

But he missed police work, and was lured to Jupiter in 2009 by Kitzerow, whom he has known for 30 years.

“He said he could use help mentoring a lot of the younger people coming up through the ranks,” Kerr said. “Next thing you know, my wife and I moved to Jupiter.”

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Kerr, a father of four, has enjoyed his work with the town’s police department, which has 120 sworn officers and 30 support staff.

His goals as police chief include building on the success of his predecessor and continuing the department’s work in the community.

“We have an outstanding group of personnel here — our officers, our support staff, command staff,” he said. “We really are just going to continue trying to improve on everything that we do. Our motto is, ‘Setting the Benchmark for Excellence.’ We’re always trying to get there. We have a great team.”

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