New Ironton chief can truly take lead

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

New Ironton Police Chief Jim Carey shares a name with the goofy Hollywood actor, but we think it will be the local Carey’s serious side that earns him acclaim with his peers and the residents of Ironton he has sworn to protect.

Leadership always starts at the top. Since former Chief Bill Garland retired this summer, the Ironton Police Department has been in a state of transition. Interim chiefs Chris Bowman and Jerry Leach did an admirable job but the lack of a permanent leader stunted the department from truly growing.

That all changed last week.

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Carey was officially sworn in as the city’s new law enforcement leader, a choice that we think will help strengthen the department and pave the way to some positive changes.

The 40-year-old officer has worked his way through the ranks of the department and has seen it from all angles.

A 16-year veteran with the department, Carey most recently served as head of the department’s detective bureau and has been credited with solving some key crimes in the city.

Now, he may need to focus more on solving problems than on solving crime. The city police department is filled with hard-working men and women, most of whom we believe have the city’s best interests at heart.

Still, the department faces many issues that Carey will have to tackle immediately. First and foremost, he will have to determine what adequate staffing is and how best to use that staff.

For several years, the police department has far exceeded its budget in terms of overtime, due in large part to poor scheduling and abuse of sick days and comp time. That should be a top priority for the new chief.

It will not be an easy problem to solve but a necessary one to be sure. If the department can eliminate overtime by hiring another officer, then Carey should work with the mayor to make that happen.

The new chief must also look at each and every officer’s actions to make sure they are the individuals that should be leading our city.

Further, we would like to see Carey and the rest of the officers place an emphasis on enforcing all the laws, not just the big ones. Lack of manpower or the time needed to fill out paper work should never be an excuse for allowing lawbreakers to get off with just a warning.

Ironton’s law enforcement is entering a new era, one that we believe will make the city we love a better place to live for all of us.