Cops ready to shake things up | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Cops ready to shake things up

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Reorganization in the police department will begin as early as next month if the South Lake Tahoe City Council approves the agenda item during its meeting today.

Two expected retirements in the commander ranks is providing South Lake Tahoe Police Chief Don Muren an opportunity to meet several goals he set months ago.

Under the proposal, the two commander positions won’t be filled, instead two lieutenant positions will be created. The lieutenants will assume watch commander duties, which currently fall under the responsibility of sergeants.

The move is expected to free up sergeants from paperwork and put them on the street, providing assistance and guidance to patrol officers.

In the past two years, about 10 officers have been hired, either from the academy or a different agency, Muren said. In addition, retirements have taken away many longtime employees. The result is a lack of experienced officers at the higher ranks.

“Like any other job, it’s important to monitor new officers and make sure they’re interpreting their job the way we want them,” Muren said.

Next month Cmdr. Tom Conner, head of detectives, and Cmdr. Les Scott, head of patrol, are expected to trade in their badges for golf clubs.

The department hasn’t had the lieutenant position since the mid-1990s. The rank is considered a mid-management position. The elimination of the two commanders’ positions will save the department a total of $8,000.

Muren and Cmdr. Rich McGuffin, who would be the only commander under the proposed scheme, would share heading the patrol division and administrative duties. McGuffin would also manage the detective and records division, along with dispatch.

A third lieutenant is expected to be added at the start of the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2004. The third lieutenant would take over the responsibilities of managing the detective division.

The three are expected to be pulled from the sergeant ranks. Tests for the first two will be given during the first weeks of October if the council OKs the reorganization.

— E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com


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