Wauchula Police Department
  I n t e g r i t y • R e s p e c t • F a i r n e s s • C o m p a s s i o n  
John M. Eason, Chief of Police  

Chief John M. Eason was born in St Petersburg, FL and grew up in Avon Park, Florida.  Chief Eason graduated from Avon Park High School.  Upon graduation from high school, Chief Eason enlisted in the United States Air Force.  Chief Eason was stationed at Fort Wainwright / Eielson AFB, Alaska and Keesler AFB located in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Chief Eason was Honorably Discharged from military service in May 1997.

Chief Eason began his law enforcement career with the Florida Department of Corrections in May 1997 while working at Union Correctional Institution in Starke, Florida.  Chief Eason transferred to Avon Park Correctional Institution in July 1998 and was a member of the Avon Park CI Rapid Response Team (RRT).  These specially trained teams provide emergency response to any emergency or natural disaster affecting correctional institutions in the State of Florida. 

Chief Eason began his career with the Wauchula Police Department in October 2002 as a part-time patrol officer while still employed with Avon Park Correctional Institution.  Chief Eason remained a part-time patrol officer until March 2003 at which time he left the Avon Park Correctional Institution and became a full-time patrol officer.  Chief Eason was promoted from Patrolman 2nd Class to Patrolman 1st Class on March 8th, 2005.  Chief Eason was promoted from Patrolman 1st Class to Sergeant on May 3rd, 2005.  Chief Eason was promoted to the rank of Chief of Police on February 12th, 2013.

Chief Eason became a certified law enforcement instructor in March 2005 through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission and has been employed as an Adjunct Instructor at South Florida State College since July 2005.  Chief Eason provides instruction in both the Law Enforcement and Corrections disciplines.  Chief Eason is also certified as a Field Training Officer, Firearms Instructor, Law Enforcement Vehicle Operations Instructor, Medical First Responder Instructor, Taser Instructor and School Crossing Guard Instructor.  Chief Eason is also an active Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers instructor with the American Heart Association. 

During Chief Eason’s employment with the Wauchula Police Department he has received several awards and accolades, which include receiving the Life Savers Medal, Accommodation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Unit Citation Award.  Chief Eason has also received several accommodation letters from surrounding agencies to include the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Fort Meade Police Department.  Chief Eason was named the Wauchula Police Department Officer of Year (2005), City of Wauchula Employee of the Month (April 2012), and City of Wauchula Employee of the Year (2012).


Matthew Whatley, Assistant Chief of Police  

Lt. Whatley grew up in Lakeland, FL and graduated from Lake Gibson High School. In 2003 he began his service with the Wauchula Police Department as a part time officer. In 2005 he moved from part time to full time working as a patrol officer.

In 2007 Lt. Whatley was promoted to Corporal where he served under then Sgt Eason as a K-9 officer. In 2009 Lt. Whatley moved to the Hardee County Drug Task Force as a Narcotics Detective. He remained in this capacity until September 2012 when he transfered to property and person crimes for the Police Department.

In 2013 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and Assistant Chief of Police. Lt. Whatley has obtained numerous certifications to include FTO, Hostage Negotiator, K-9, Internal Affairs Investigator, and others. Lt. Whatley has received three life saving medals, meritorious service medal, and was named Officer of the Year for 2012.

Terry Atchley, City Manager  

The City Manager was appointed by the City Commission to act as the chief executive officer of the City, responsible for carrying out the direction of the City Commission through the administration and coordination of city operations, resources and assets, which includes:

  • Supporting the Commission with timely and complete information and advice;
  • Insuring that effective and efficient services are provided to meet community needs;
  • Supporting resident involvement in actions which affect them an the community;
  • Responding in a timely manner to requests for service
  • Preparing a draft annual city budget with options for Commission review;
  • Meeting with citizen groups to understand their needs better;
  • Providing executive leadership that encourages good performance by city personnel;
  • Operating the city with a professional understanding of how all city functions operate together to best effect.
  • Develop short and long range strategic planning and development strategies for the City’s future.





Under Florida law, email addresses are public records. If you do not want your email address released in response to a public-records request do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing. However, please note that all written forms of communication with the Wauchula Police Department, to include telephone logs, are subject to disclosure pursuant to F.S. 119. (This specific disclaimer is required pursuant to F.S. 668.6076.) Citizens are encouraged to provide anonymous tips. Email addresses containing anonymous tips are deemed confidential as active criminal investigative and/or active criminal intelligence under F.S. 119.0721(2) (c). Emails and email addresses containing such information will not be disclosed under the Public Records Act.


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