Sylvester- The Sylvester city Council approved some major changes to the city's police department during a special called meeting Monday, including some big changes for the two of the department's top officials. They say this is the beginning of a new era for the police department.
The city council has had a chance to mull over the police department assessment done by the Georgia Police Chief's Association, and now they are taking action.
"It is a holistic approach to fixing for lack of a better word our police department," said City Manager Danny Lucas.
Lucas calls it a turn-around plan. The board has given him blanket authority to find and use money to make a list of changes to the department at 30 day, 60 day, 90 day, 6 month and one year intervals.
"I think it's a good positive plan to move on with the police department and update the police department and make some changes," said police Capt. Tony Strenth.
And those changes include more officer training, adopting a new standard operating procedures manual and doing the leg work for a new $1.4 million police department. But it will also mean moving Chief Tommy Bozeman to the position as special assistant to Lucas, and making Captain Tony Strenth interim police chief.
"There are a lot things the chief can help me do on a day to day basis without being interrupted by those other issues that he would normally have to do," said Lucas.
"I can't say how long this will take, but this special assistants position was created just for this particular circumstance. It is an ad hoc position,"
"The morale of the men is down a little bit, but I'm hoping they will following behind me in the morale and the meeting we're going to have today will turn everything around, and we'll start in a positive way," said Strenth.
City officials say the adoption of the new turn-around plan is finally shedding some much needed light on their police department. The police department is also looking to immediately hire two additional officers.
According to the plan by the end of the month, the department will relocated it's dispatch and administrative records offices, make security changes to the building, and schedule a community relations town hall meeting.