Changes coming

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Council approves restructure plan for police department

By Jesef Williams

 Jesef Williams
The Lancaster Police Department will undergo some structural changes.
Police Chief Harlean Howard spoke about her restructuring request during the Tuesday, March 26, City Council meeting.
She spoke of the personnel changes the department has experienced over the past six months.
“Three senior officers retired due to changes in the retirement system,” Howard said.
“The officer who specialized in illegal gang activity resigned and went to work for another agency,” she said. “More recently, our training officer, due to personal reasons, asked to work in the patrol division.”  
Also, three officers were promoted to lieutenant, three were promoted to sergeant and three are now corporals.
Howard asked to move
supervision of the gang investigator and drug investigators to the special operations division, versus those officers reporting directly to the chief.
“This will put all of the department’s investigators under the supervision of one captain,” she said.
Also, she requested the gang investigator position be downgraded from lieutenant to sergeant and a training officer upgraded to lieutenant.
“The training officer’s role will be expanded and more responsibilities will be placed on the person who holds this position,” Howard said.
Council unanimously approved her requests during the meeting.
“We believe that this restructure serves our department best,” Howard said.
She said the restructuring will benefit the department as its looks to receive accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.  
“It is paramount to the growth and professionalism of this department,” Howard said.
Priority needs list
During the March 26 meeting, council unanimously approved the city’s 2013 list of top needs, which could receive federal grant funding.  
The list includes:
u Upgrading water and sewer infrastructure in low- and moderate-income areas
- Expanding the city’s streetscape beautification efforts
- Acquiring and rehabilitating vacant buildings for lease
- Upgrading wastewater collection and treatment and water systems
- Upgrading and extending the water distribution and sewer collection systems
- Addressing crime by installing better lighting and increasing the number of police substations
- Providing adult literacy programs
- Promoting economic development and job creation
- Undertaking activities to provide safe and affordable housing
- Developing a storm water utility that satisfies national requirements
- Completing the environment cleanup of the old Lancaster mill site
- Assisting with the development of a mill museum
- Continuing to promote fair housing in the city

Contact reporter Jesef Williams
at (803) 283-1152