Lawrence Police Department restructure aims to put more supervisors on the streets, interim chief says

photo by: Lawrence Police Department/Contributed Photo

Newly promoted Lawrence Police Department sergeants are pictured with Interim Chief Anthony Brixius on Aug. 28, 2020. Pictured left to right are Joshua Guile, Samuel Hiatt, Brixius, William Bradford and Daniel Ashley.

The Lawrence Police Department wants more of its supervisors present on calls for service, and that was a large part of the reason for the creation of the new rank of lieutenant.

Interim Chief of Police Anthony Brixius said the department has had a “really flat structure” for all of his 17 years there, and that’s brought some problems with information dissemination and having leadership in the right positions. The pending move into the new “purpose-built” police headquarters in west Lawrence has provided an opportunity to streamline the department’s structure, he said. Department spokesperson Patrick Compton said LPD anticipates the new headquarters will be completed by Dec. 1, and all personnel will be in place by Feb. 1, 2021.

“The biggest thing that we’re trying to impact is our supervisors’ abilities to be on more calls for service,” Brixius said, referring to the sergeants who directly oversee officers and detectives, “so we can make sure that we’re providing a quality service to the community, especially in those calls where you need either more people or just an extra set of eyes out there.”

photo by: Lawrence Police Department/Contributed Photo

Sunny Halsted, wife of newly promoted Lawrence Police Department Lt. Ryan Halsted, pins on her husband’s new badge on Aug. 28, 2020.

The six lieutenants, who rank above sergeants and below captains, will become overall case managers of all new cases coming in, Brixius said. The goal is for them to help lift some of the administrative workload off the sergeants, he said.

“We’re hoping that that’s going to get the supervisors (sergeants) more involved in the cases day to day, so we’re having a more timely and efficient investigation and that we make sure that we’re getting all of our bases covered within those bigger investigations,” Brixius said.

The lieutenants, who officially started in their new positions on Sunday, are all longtime employees of the department.

Those promoted from sergeant to lieutenant and their units are Myrone Grady and Ryan Halsted, Patrol; Amy Rhoads, Investigations; Mark Unruh, Office of Professional Accountability; Shannon Riggs, Training; and Dave Ernst, Public Affairs. Hayden Fowler was promoted from sergeant to captain of Investigations.

Rhoads is the first woman to be promoted to the command staff, which includes the ranks higher than sergeant in LPD, Compton said.

photo by: Lawrence Police Department/Contributed Photo

Newly promoted Lawrence Police Department Lt. Amy Rhoads receives her new badge on Aug. 28, 2020.

None of the lieutenant positions is a new full-time sworn officer position, Brixius said.

Capt. Adam Heffley, who formerly oversaw the Investigations division, is now one of two captains in a Special Projects division. He is going to lead some “outward-facing projects,” or things that the community and Lawrence City Commission have been discussing, Brixius said. For instance, Heffley will be part of a project management team to help any consultant that the city might hire to review the department, Brixius said.

The department is also seeking accreditation by CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Brixius said, and Heffley will start that process.

Brixius said it’s a great undertaking and it takes a couple of years to get a department certified, but CALEA will look at every piece of the department under a microscope. Through the accreditation process, each policy and practice of the department will be examined and evaluated to ensure they meet set standards.

“Then there’s another part of that, which is the proof,” Brixius said. “Then you have to show how your practices actually do what your policy says.”

Capt. Casey Cooper is the other captain in the Special Projects division. His primary focus is the move into the new facility, Brixius said, and afterward, he’ll take on some additional projects. Capt. Troy Squire is overseeing the Professional Standards division, Capt. Trent McKinley is in charge of the Information Services division and Capt. William Cory is overseeing Patrol.

photo by: Lawrence Police Department/Contributed Photo

Newly promoted Lawrence Police Department Lts. Mark Unruh and Shannon Riggs are pictured on Aug. 28, 2020.

photo by: Lawrence Police Department/Contributed Photo

Interim Lawrence Police Chief Anthony Brixius speaks at a ceremony on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, at which several officers were promoted.

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