Passing the torch

PASSING THE TORCH — DeLand Police Cmdr. Francis “Mac” McBride, left, served with the DeLand Police Department for 45 years; his retirement takes effect Nov. 20. His successor for the Downtown DeLand beat, Jose Torres, has served with the Police Department for two years. Torres was born and raised in DeLand, and he said he’s looking forward to getting to know all of the Downtown merchants personally.

DeLand Police Cmdr. Francis “Mac” McBride is retiring after 45 years of service, and he has a replacement for the Downtown DeLand beat: Officer Jose Torres.

Torres, a DeLand native, has served with the DeLand Police Department for two years. He said McBride is showing him the ropes.

“He definitely knows everybody — that’s definitely going to be a challenge to remember everyone’s names, to get to know everyone on a personal level the way he has,” Torres said.

McBride has been a fixture in the Downtown DeLand area for decades, known for his rapport with area regulars.

He is immortalized in a mural painted this year near the corner of Woodland Boulevard and Rich Avenue.

“Meet and greet” is how McBride described his efforts to work with merchants.

“They have their concerns about what’s going on in the city, and they need somebody that can relate between the Police Department and the Downtown merchants: a communicator,” he said. “My job was to go between them, and on top of that, whatever happened Downtown, they would call me to address the problem. That’s what Officer Torres will be doing; the same thing.”

Torres has other roles with the DeLand PD. He will continue to serve as the Police Department’s recruiter, as well as perform community service.

But for a few hours per day, five days a week, Torres will be in the Downtown area, just like McBride once was.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill,” he said.

McBride insisted that Torres was the man for the job.

“We’re very fortunate DeLand has such a young man to start filling my shoes,” McBride said. “Because he’s a quality person, and that’s what we need.”

McBride’s retirement takes effect Nov. 20.