The Columbus Police Department will soon add six new officers.
At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Chief of Police Selvain McQueen presented his plans for restructuring the department, which included the six new officers as well as six administrative assistants.
The CPD’s patrol division is broken down into four separate shifts. According to McQueen, each shift will have a lieutenant, sergeant and corporal. Two of those shifts will have their own administrative assistants.
In the past, McQueen has referred to the department as “top heavy.” With the recent retirement of several seniors officers and McQueen’s new vision for the department, the long-awaited and hotly debated topic of promotions may become a reality.
In addition to the new officers, the chief also plans to hire a second assistant chief.
While the council voted 6-0 to approve McQueen’s changes, they had initially tabled the motion at the last council meeting. Before presenting the chart to council members on Tuesday night, the chief told them, “Y’all told me to come back. I came back.”
At the April 17 council meeting, Councilman Charlie Box voiced his concerns over hiring former Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agent Eric Lewis because it was presented as a “lateral hiring” issue. While Lewis has since been hired, questions about lateral hiring have been raised in the hiring of a second assistant chief.
Initially, McQueen said the second chief would be hired from within the department. However, the chief said now he will either hire from inside or outside but stressed that he would look within first.
“Obviously, I’m the product of my environment, the Columbus Police Department. Having taken and passed promotional examinations over the years, obviously I will be looking internally first and foremost,” he said.
McQueen also plans to promote someone to the head of the Criminal Investigation Divisions.
Current Assistant Chief of Police Joe Johnson is the former head of CID and, while he is no longer in charge of the investigations unit, the hiring of a second assistant chief will not affect his current position.
McQueen’s “new and improved” organizational chart will be effective immediately.