If you are standing at the corner of Woodland Boulevard and Rich Avenue next to the former Dick & Janes Coffee Shop be sure to take a look on the side of the building. Here, near the creepy looking stairs leading down to an empty basement storefront, you will see a mural in honor of Commander Francis “Mac” McBride.
Born in Rockledge, Florida, the McBride family had a legacy of police work. McBride’s father and brother were also in law enforcement. His uncle served in the United States Air Force as a military police officer.
The young McBride moved to Volusia County, living in Daytona Beach and Barberville, before moving to DeLand. In DeLand, he began work at Sherwood Medical Industries, before being hired as a rookie officer by the DeLand Police Department in 1975.
The then 77-year-old McBride retired in 2020 after 45 years on the police force. During this time he made many friends and won the respect and admiration of downtown business owners for his community policing style. He is often remembered for his “Night Eyes” program. As a part of this program he would leave notes for business owners assuring them he had checked on their business during his shift.
Former DeLand Police Chief, Bill Ridgway said of McBride, “I got to see how he built relationships and those connections with the community, he was ahead of the curve.”
In seeing his mural Officer McBride stated, “I hope I did the right thing. Everything that I’ve done now goes back to that mural. It’s an honor to know that my legacy is that I cared about the people and people cared about me.”
McBride was honored during his last shift with a retirement party held at the Sanborn Activity Center. After his retirement the beloved officer moved to Alabama to be closer to family.
You may view a brief video of the mural on my YouTube channel.
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If you are interested in memorials to law enforcement officers, please take a look at my post about the memorial to officer Elmer Michael of the DeLand police force. This monument is located just a short distance from this mural.
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