There are some new faces supervising the Astoria Police Department these days. In an effort to to develop its next generation of leaders, the Astoria Police Department has reached into the organization and is working to develop emerging leaders. "The current sworn members of command staff of the Astoria Police Department are very senior", said Deputy Chief Brad Johnston. "We don't get a lot of opportunity to promote people in this department because our officers tend to stay a long time and we tend to promote our officers who are committed to the community." When we need to promote it has frequently been done based on technical aptitude and not necessarily based on their proven ability to lead and manage. Our officers don't always get a lot of opportunity to demonstrate their abilities in those fields." Sergeant Eric Halverson has been with the department since he was a cadet in 1993, and has been a sergeant for 5 years. Sergeant Brian Aydt has been with the department since 1988 and has been a sergeant for 18 years.
Chief Peter Curzon said "as we looked to the future and saw that the majority of our current leaders had been supervising for many years. We know that there will be a time where we will promote. We looked at our staff and identified several members who had been with the department for more than five years and who have demonstrated leadership in the department regardless of their position. They were asked to participate in something of an experiment."
The department selected several members and four of them agreed to participate in the program. All four will be offered the opportunity to supervise as an acting sergeant for a period of 6 months. They will report directly to Deputy Chief Brad Johnston who will work with them to develop their skills in leadership and supervision. "The idea is to get them working at 100% of the role of a police sergeant," said Johnston. We want them to experience all aspects of the job that we can. We also want to give them all of the support to succeed that we can." The program is being done with no additional cost to the city.
Sergeant Ken Hansen and Sergeant Nicole Riley are the first members to participate in this program. The current plan is to replace them with the other candidates in September.