Chip Simmons is a very community oriented man. He cares deeply about our citizens and community. All his life, Chip has worked at being the best man he can be for the community. His life started in Keflivik, Iceland, on a Navy base with his father. He always loved the uniform he saw his dad wear, and wanted to wear one himself one day. Growing up, he always stood up against bullies and helped people out whenever he could. Naturally, he became a police officer and has worked his way up the ranks and is now the Chief Deputy of Escambia County.
Chip has lived in Escambia county for over 50 years. He went to Belleview Elementary and Middle School and graduated from Pine Forest High School. Chip’s education has been quite extensive as well. He has multiple degrees in the Criminal Justice field, as well as a Master’s degree in Public Administration. On top of that, he also graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
As a result of all his hard work, Chip is a very decorated officer. He has received multiple honors, including the Bronze Cross, the Gold Medal of Valor(the department’s highest award for heroism), the Mayor’s Leadership award, and he is also in the Police/Firefighter’s Heroes Hall of Fame.
What inspired you or led you to your current career/owning your business?
I think because, growing up, my father was in the Navy. I was always attracted to a “uniform” type profession. I’ve always been one that would stick up for people against a bully. I thought, if there’s a way I can make a living out of this, I can help people. I can also be there for people who need help. Law enforcement is just a natural progression towards that.
How long have you lived or worked in Pensacola?
I have lived in Escambia County for over 50 years, and even married a Pensacola girl. We’ve been married for 34 years.
Who is the most interesting person/business owner you’ve met here in Pensacola? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Pensacola?
I would say probably the most interesting person that I have met in Pensacola, is Mr. Appleyard. When you talk to him, you can’t help but get a history lesson of wherever you are. If you’re standing at a street corner, he will tell you about the history of that corner. He can tell you why they named it that, what historical events took place there. I’m a bit of a history buff, and I think he would be a great interview.
What advice would you give a crowd of people? (Or someone starting their own business?)
I think that the keys are pretty simple, and I live by these. It’s common sense and decency. If you will operate your business or operation and use your common sense, you will make the right decisions most of the time. If you treat people with a sense of decency, then they will be loyal to you, and your customers will be loyal as well.
What makes you the most nostalgic about (or what is most iconic in) Pensacola?
Probably the Blue Angels. People will often talk about the Blue Angels from afar, but when they mention it, it’s something that I hold dear. Growing up, I went to dozens of shows. I’ve known and met so many of the pilots themselves. No matter how many times you see them, you just stop. We take ownership of them here in Pensacola.
Where do you see yourself (and your career/business) in 5 or 10 years?
Hopefully, I’m the elected sheriff of Escambia County and I can continue to push the profession of law enforcement forward to the highest standard, to the highest point of professionalism, to where I think as a resident, we deserve.
What is your favorite restaurant in Pensacola, and what do you love there? (What is your favorite dish, and where do you get it?)
I would say Coach-N-Four Steakhouse. It’s still the same great steakhouse. It’s kind of rustic and western and definitely nostalgia. I would say the rib eye and the fried crayfish are my favorite things there.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
Probably would have to be Keflivik, Iceland. I was born there, and my older brother was too. He has taken a trip up there and I think it would be cool to go there. My son is in the Air Force Reserves. One day he sent me a picture of the same place I was when I left and says “guess where I’m at”. It was right where I was when I left there.
What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
My favorite movie would be Braveheart.
What is something on your bucket list?
Besides Iceland, it would have to be a trip to England and see the castles.
What is your favorite thing or something unique about Pensacola?
The unique part in Pensacola or Escambia County that I think about is the options that we have. You can go from the beach to the rural farm areas, but you also have a vibrant downtown. You can take your pick all within a single day. I think that’s pretty unique.
Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Pensacola would you have lunch?
I would choose to have lunch with Joe Montana. We would have to have lunch at Notre Dame Stadium. The why is obvious, I’m a big football fan and he’s my favorite football player.
What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
I would say the Eagles, Elvis, and Garth Brooks. I’m an eclectic, I like rock and country.
(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I’ve got black-belt in martial arts. I went to TaeKwonDo Plus with Master Bert Collars.
What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
I would say mother, church, and old friends.
If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
Probably Kevin Hart.
If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
I would pick a chef.
What is your favorite part of your profession?
My favorite part is literally that you can see that you can help people right away. The feedback that you get is instantaneous. When you have someone in a crash, you can help them right away. You may not be able to fix them, but you can help them in that moment get them from that car to seek some help. When we show up, sometimes people are relieved that there’s someone there. It’s that relief, it’s knowing that you’re there for someone is my favorite part.
Who was your childhood hero?
My childhood hero was Superman.
What is something that you’re deeply passionate about?
To learn more about Chief Deputy Chip Simmons, check out his website here!
Be sure to check out what our other nominees have to say!