COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Columbus Police Department held a promotions ceremony Wednesday to honor a few officers who will be moving on to new roles with more responsibilities.
The organizational restructure comes after city council approved the motion to change the leadership structure of the police department.
”Diversity is important because it gives you a different view point,” said Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon. “It gives you a different perspective a far as how certain matters should be addressed. So, with this command staff in place, I feel very confident that we’ll be able to go forward and engage our community even more.”
Two notable promotions are the assistant chief positions. For the first time in Columbus Police Department history, these positions will be filled by women. Assistant Chiefs Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick and Debra Kennedy have both been with the department over thirty years.
”I didn’t set out to make it, but that’s the way history goes,” said Dent-Fitzpatrick. “You never set out to do it. It just happens. So, I just happen to be who God chose to be the vessel today. So I’m happy about that.”
“I feel honored, number one,” said Kennedy. “I’m excited as well. I’m honored because I feel like I worked hard. I’ve been in some very stressful units, and I feel like that hard work has paid off. I’m excited because I think it opens doors and because the possibilities it creates for other people coming behind me.”
Others promoted include four new captains, four deputy chiefs, and one chief of staff. The list is as follows:
Capt. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick to Assistant Chief of Police
Capt. Debra Kennedy to Assistant Chief of Police
Lt. Lance Deaton to Deputy Chief
Capt. Thomas Dent to Deputy Chief
Lt. Roderick Graham to Deputy Chief
Capt. Ronald Hastings to Deputy Chief
Sgt. Katina Williams to Chief of Staff
Lt. Consuelo Askew to Captain
Lt. David Blackstock to Captain
Lt. Kevin Hamer to Captain
Lt. Gregory Touchberry to Captain.
“This is an opportunity for this group to be more diverse and more in tune with what our community wants and what’s best for our police officers and our employees,” said Deputy Chief Lance Deaton. “I’m looking forward to being apart of that and watching this grow and move forward. Anytime you leave one place and go to another place, the hope is that you can make it a little bit better than it was when you got there and that should always be our goal. I think that’s our goal moving forward today.”
”Well, I think there’s been a lot of changes in the interaction between police and citizens over the last year and this just represents an effort to try and structure a team under Chief Blackmon to make sure we’re delivering services and communicating the services that are available to the public,” said Mayor Skip Henderson.
This new organizational structure will go into affect at the beginning of the new year.