Mayor Rick Kriseman announced the appointment on Thursday of WFLA News Channel 8 reporter Yolanda Fernandez to serve as St. Petersburg Police Department spokesperson and Community Awareness Manager.
Fernandez, 51, will begin her new role on June 23.
“Through her time at News Channel 8, Yolanda Fernandez is well known to the people of St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay community,” said Kriseman in a statement. “Every day, the men and women of our police department do extraordinary things to keep our residents and visitors safe. I look forward to Yolanda leading the way in telling those stories.”
Interim Chief of Police Dave DeKay worked with the mayor’s office on the selection of Fernandez.
“Community engagement through effective communication is an important service we provide,” DeKay said. “Having someone with the experience and skills of Ms. Fernandez will be a great enhancement to our staff.”
Although Fernandez does not have a formal law enforcement background, as a reporter, she covered the agency for several years.
“I am excited to be able to work with the new administration and a new Chief of Police in St. Petersburg,” she said. “This new start will allow me to incorporate my 30 years of media experience and bring a fresh, innovative approach to linking the police department to the community.”
With more than three decades in the media, Fernandez spent the last 25 years covering stories in the Tampa Bay area for News Channel 8. She is a St. Petersburg/Clearwater native, where she resides with her family.
Fluent in both Spanish and English, she graduated cum laude from Troy State University in Alabama with a B.A. in broadcast journalism, music and modern language.