Police#039;s lack of leader means lack of vision

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, Catholic priest and president of Notre Dame University for 35 years, said &#8220The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.”

If you agree with the Reverend, then Ironton's Police Department would be going blind.

Law enforcement is one of the most vital services within a community. Police protection keeps a city's residents safe. Though Ironton's force continues to work hard to do so, the lack of permanent leadership at the top continues to erode the city's long-term vision that will be vital to the city's future.

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Capt. Chris Bowman was appointed as acting chief Tuesday after the previous acting chief, Jerry Leach, was hospitalized for health problems.

Leach did an admirable job and we are sure Bowman will as well. But to keep the entire department, including the sergeants who seek the captain position, in a state of limbo is a disservice to the men and women who serve and each and every citizen of Ironton.

Bowman, Leach and captains Jim Carey and Dan Johnson are all eligible to be the next chief. The problem is that nobody has a test to give them.

Former Chief Bill Garland retired in July, and it was no secret that he was leaning that way for months prior. So did the city's administration or the civil service commission work to be prepared? Nope.

State law requires a test date to be set within 60 days of a vacancy, but the only thing that has been delivered so far has been excuses. Everyone blames everyone else with most of the blame being put on the city's financial woes and difficulty finding a company to create

a test.

None of those are valid. Finding the city's permanent leadership - the city's vision - should be the highest priority. The mayor must take the lead and make this happen.

If he has to force the civil service commission to act, then do so. Ironton needs to come out of the dark.