Jay Fernandez was appointed as the Director of Public Safety for our great city on February 1, 2011. Prior to joining our city, he served for almost 26 years with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he rose up through the ranks and retired in May 2010 as Police Chief in Deerfield Beach, Florida. He spent the majority of his career in command or executive-level appointments. He served in many areas to include administration, patrol, investigations, street crimes, staff inspections, SWAT, dive team, marine patrol and training.
In his current position as Director of Public Safety, he manages an annual budget of more than 13.1 million dollars and a staff of 54 firefighters, 77 police officers and 30 civilian personnel. He is a strong proponent of the use of technology and analyzing crime data to proactively deploy our resources in the most effective and efficient manner. He is a strong believer in community-based policing and has dedicated his entire adult life to public service and improving the quality of life for all of the citizens, businesses, and visitors we serve.
Director Fernandez holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in History from Louisiana Tech University and a second Master of Arts in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Florida Atlantic University, Executive Leadership Program and the University of Louisville, Southern Police Institute Command Officers Development Course.
Upon his appointment, Director Fernandez established education and training as major pillars of the department. The training bureau staff has increased from one to five full-time trainers. He strongly encourages participation in the college tuition reimbursement program and as a result, the number of staff attending college has increased from one to an average of twelve to fifteen at any given time.
Director Fernandez is an active member of the North Myrtle Beach Rotary and Optimist Clubs, American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP), International City / County Management Association (ICMA), Horry / Georgetown Law Enforcement Network (HGLEN), and the Horry / Georgetown Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU).
He is happily married to Patsy Fernandez. They will celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary this upcoming August. Their son John is a rising Junior at Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach. In his spare time, enjoys trying to play golf and watching his son play varsity basketball and soccer.