The City of Okeechobee has a new Chief of Police, and he’s no stranger to the charming city that serves as the county seat for 40,000 residents that live just north of Florida’s largest freshwater lake.
An Okeechobee native, Donald Hagan, knew he wanted to be a police officer early on. He admired his grandfather, a Korean War Veteran, and knew his calling was public service.
After graduating from Okeechobee High School, He began his career as a corrections officer with the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Seminole Police Department and later the Glades County Sheriff’s Office. At Glades County, Chief Hagan met Bob Peterson, then Chief Deputy of Glades County Sheriff’s Office.
In November 1996, Hagan was ready to come home and bring his law enforcement experience with him to serve the city he lives in and loves. He joined the Okeechobee City Police Department and a month later, Bob Peterson followed.
In 2015, when Bob Peterson became Chief, he began mentoring Hagan for the position and he rose to the rank of Major listening to the needs of the community while garnering the support of his officers. As Major, he created the department’s Motor Unit, K-9 Unit and School Resource Program.
Until 1975, Okeechobee City’s Police Chief was an elected position. Since then, every Police Chief has come from within the department’s ranks. “Our City Council is very supportive of our Police Department and has an open-door relationship with us,” Chief Hagan said.
So, it was no surprise when the city threw their support behind Hagan when Chief Peterson announced his retirement. The choice was easy – promote from within.
Okeechobee City Clerk Lane Gamiotea remembers Hagan from Okeechobee Junior High School and knows the importance of having a Police Chief the people know. “I am ecstatic he’s, our Chief,” Clerk Gamiotea said.
Chief Hagan’s goal as Chief is to enhance the department’s training and access to public information. To do that he’s designated a Public Information Officer and is bringing Power DMS – a content management system for policy, procedure, and training to the department. “I want to make us one of the best trained agencies around while increasing our transparency,” Chief Hagan said.
Donald Hagan is Okeechobee City’s new Police Chief and residents are thrilled that the tradition of promoting their top cop from within continues.