Steve Locke is not a police officer but he now oversees all police operations at Hartford headquarters. But not like a typical police Chief.
"I am not going to be making tactical operational police decision. Not my job. I'm an administrative head," Locke says.
Locke, who is also the Fire Chief, is the community's new Public Service Director -- a position created by the town after an unsuccessful search for a new police chief. Day-to-day operations will be run by these two: Deputy Chief Lenny Roberts and newly-appointed Deputy Chief Brad Vail.
"I think there was a misconception that we were going to have a fire chief showing up at crime scenes," Vail says.
Locke says more than 90 percent of what he does is administrative duties. Paperwork police officers no longer have to do.
"Relieving them of that burden so they can focus on community policing, succession planning and accreditation," Locke says.
The move also frees up money to hire a new drug detective. Detectives will report to Deputy Roberts, who was Acting Chief and in the running for the permanent Chief position.
"I think it is a united front and I think it is going to work out very well," Roberts says.
It's a public service model that seems to be spreading across Vermont. Barre, St. Albans, Bennington and now Hartford all have Public Service Directors. And the directors we spoke to say it's working well, despite some initial public concern.
"I think he has the respect of both the fire department and police department personnel," says Selectboard Chair Ken Parker. "The realization that Steve is not going to be carrying a gun, or will he have a badge."
"I have to earn their trust, and I am going to work hard at that," Locke says.
As for how long the new structure will be in place, Locke says it's just temporary. He says he's focused on the priorities he's already laid out. But town officials say if the model proves successful, it could pave the way for more regional coverage throughout the Upper Valley.
The Hartford Fire Department is the only accredited fire department in New England, and Locke says the Police department will also be accredited within three years.
Tuesday, March 11 2014 11:17 PM EDT2014-03-12 03:17:47 GMT
Town meeting day didn't bode well for dozens of school budgets across the state. Now the Burlington City Council is looking to cut costs after voters rejected school spending hikes. The council votedMore >>
Town meeting day didn't bode well for dozens of school budgets across the state. Now the Burlington City Council is looking to cut costs after voters rejected school spending hikes.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 10:28 PM EDT2014-03-12 02:28:52 GMT
The Vermont Senate has loosened restrictions on the state's medical marijuana dispensaries. The bill passed Tuesday allows an unlimited number of qualified Vermonters to access medical marijuana -- removing theMore >>
The Vermont Senate has loosened restrictions on the state's medical marijuana dispensaries.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 10:20 PM EDT2014-03-12 02:20:41 GMT
A St. George man is behind bars accused of stealing from an elderly South Burlington woman. 43-year-old Craig Dubuque was arrested for the alleged financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Police sayMore >>
A St. George man is behind bars accused of stealing from an elderly South Burlington woman.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 11:35 PM EDT2014-03-12 03:35:07 GMT
"You know, people say you might not need it, which is true, but this way you get a choice. I don't have to go out tomorrow," said Lorinda Henry of Milton. Henry says she hit the grocery stores TuesdayMore >>
Parts of Vermont could get up to 24 inches of snow in the coming storm. And VTrans officials are warning drivers they may not be able to keep up with the storm rolling in Wednesday.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 8:02 PM EDT2014-03-12 00:02:07 GMT
"Seems like it was just yesterday. Doesn't seem like it's been two years at all," said Glenda Reandeau of Tupper Lake. Residents of Tupper Lake still have their eyes out for Colin Gillis, a now 20-year-oldMore >>
Colin Gillis of Tupper Lake, N.Y., disappeared two years ago. And authorities are still searching for him. They say the investigation now focuses on tips from the public and from those who were the last to see Gillis.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 6:17 PM EDT2014-03-11 22:17:43 GMT
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser. Authorities say Officer Adam Lucia was one of two officers responding to an aggravated assault call Monday at TopsMore >>
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser.More >>