Albemarle police to establish lieutenant positions to help provide additional oversight

Published 5:40 pm Saturday, October 22, 2022

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In order to help the Albemarle Police Department operate in a more efficient manner, Chief Jason Bollhorst presented a plan before City Council recently to change the organizational structure, namely by adding lieutenants.

Two lieutenants will be introduced at the patrol division, where they will oversee patrol sergeants and officers, thereby freeing up captains to focus on other needs.

The new positions “will give a needed leadership role that is lacking underneath the captain at the sergeant level,” Bollhorst said. “This will develop succession planning for the future” and will provide additional development for sergeants looking to rise to the captain positions.

Going forward, Bollhorst said the department will streamline the captain position, decreasing from four to three, while increasing the number of lieutenants.

Lieutenants will have several responsibilities including ensuring sergeants understand policies and procedures; being responsible for staff reports; foster stronger relationships between the police and community; and deploy strategies designed to prevent crime and enforce the laws.

Character traits Bollhorst is looking for in regards to prospective lieutenants include officers who are comfortable with many types of work, ones who take accountability for their work and officers who exhibit effective leadership skills.

“Albemarle is growing so it’s incumbent that we grow with it as a police department to ensure that we can provide that safety measure for the community,” Bollhorst said.

He added that in order to effectively develop community-oriented policing and foster better relationships with residents, there has to be buy-in not just from officers, but from the community as well.

Council, which voted to approve the changes, was appreciative of the department’s work to increase efficiency and add additional oversight.

“Thank you for what you’re doing, I think it’s a great job moving us forward,” Councilman Benton Dry said, noting the lieutenants will be able to provide more hands-on training to patrol officers.

There are 11 vacant positions, Bollhorst told Council, though seven will be filled by individuals completing basic law enforcement training and two others will be filled via lateral transfer.

The vacancies are being addressed with overtime assignments and officers stepping up to “fill those voids.”

The department has 18 patrol officers, though Bollhorst wants to increase the number in the coming years.

“We are hiring and getting people in the door,” he said, stressing that only the most qualified are being offered positions. “It’s very important we hire the right people for the job.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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