Out: Elliot Cohen, below left, who held the director post for less than three years. Former Sheriff Ken Jenne had brought in Cohen in September 2005 to lead the media office. Cohen had previously been a radio and TV reporter. Monday was his last day at BSO.
Leljedal, 54, has been a BSO spokesman since 1983, most recently working the night shift. He, too, has a background in radio and TV news, but here's what makes Leljedal stand out: He's also a cop.
Leljedal went through the police academy and became a sworn deputy in 1992. According to reports from BSO, Sheriff Lamberti wanted a real law enforcement officer to be the public voice of his department. (At most of South Florida's larger police agencies - Miami, Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale - active-duty officers handle calls from reporters and live shots from crime scenes.)
"I've known him for the whole 24 years I've been here," Leljedal said about Lamberti. "I'm really genuinely happy and honored to be working for him."*
Here's a lineup of BSO's public information officers and their bios. It should be noted: Veda, Keyla, Mike (an auxiliary FHP trooper) and Billye do a standup job, even if they're not deputies. Reporters and police PIOs are naturally going to butt heads over some things -- access at scenes, immediate distribution of information, etc. -- but the BSO media staff is generally helpful and professional day in and day out.
* Thanks to Jen Lebovich for her help on this post.