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.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>