By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The city police department has reorganized its command structure by eliminating one of two captain positions and splitting the quasi-department heads into four separate commands, three of which will be headed by lieutenants and one of which will be led by the city prosecutor.
The previous organization had two captains, one of whom ran the administration and detectives and the other who ran the operations or the patrol division. The city prosecutor has always been the head of prosecution.
Capt. Matt Canfield is responsible for budgeting, capital improvements, internal affairs purchasing, personnel reviews and major special event planning for things like the Motorcycle Week and the Pumpkin Festival. He is also responsible, along with the chief, for general oversight.
Patrol Lt. Rich Simmons is responsible for patrol scheduling, communications or dispatch, supervisor shift coverage, monthly details, animal control and for reviewing felony cases that come from the patrol division.
Patrol Detective Lt. Tom Swett is responsible for detective scheduling, and the Prevention, Enforcement and Training officer who coordinates drug enforcement with treatment agencies. He reviews felony cases prepared by detectives, is the liaison between the department and the Belknap County Attorney for grand jury and indictment purposes, manages grants and supervises the many who volunteer for the Laconia Police.
Support Lt. Allen Graton is responsible for departmental training, automotive maintenance, uniforms, the police station maintenance itself, policy development, Right-To-Know requests, community resource officers and managing the department's computer system.
Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams said that the change makes for better communications and a cleaner and more direct chain of command. For example, he said that he thinks having the patrol lieutenant and the detective lieutenant sitting in adjoining offices can better coordinate investigations that are triggered by activities by each division.
The old way has a detective sergeant responding to a captain who each had different responsibilities in different parts of the building and sometimes the communications weren't that fluid.
"The common theme is mixed messages," he said.
Adams also said that should things not work as he expects, the department always has the option to return to the two-captain model.
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