Spotlight: Independence Police Chief Anthony J. Lucas
AT A GLANCE
Years in Law Enforcement: 26
Chief of Independence Police Department for two years
Law Enforcement Experience:
Began as a part-time employee and worked through the ranks from patrol officer to chief
Education: Two years of college courses, graduated CJED Class No. 5, graduated FBI National Academy Session No. 230 and attends continuing education through PECC each year
CHANGE OF THE GUARD
Over the past two years, the Independence Police Department experienced a “Changing of the Guard” with the retirement of 12 veteran officers. The retirements included mostly command staff, i.e. chief, captain, lieutenant, and sergeant, which created a bump-up effect. Through promotions, testing and interviews, a chief was hired from within; an assistant chief was promoted; two captains, three lieutenants and three sergeants were named. The challenge a bump-up effect creates is all those promoted must complete supervisory/leadership training, which places financial and scheduling difficulties on the department. Historically, command-shift changes are experienced at a slower rate. Supervisors work their way through various classes:
- Academy of Police Supervision for sergeants
- Criminal Justice Executive Development Program for lieutenants
- Current Leadership Issues for Mid-Level Executives for captains
- Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy for captains
- Police Executive Command Courses for chief and assistant chief.
As the city of Independence continues to experience growth, maintaining an efficient police agency is of the utmost importance. With growth comes an increase in security issues, added public events throughout the city that need extra patrol and an increase in varying types of problems. It is the mission of the chief of police and city officials to meet the needs of officers by improving equipment and providing advanced training opportunities and competitive benefits. City growth makes retention and recruiting efforts vital.
RECRUITING AND RETENTION
Recruiting and retention is paramount for all police agencies around the country. The police department conducted a salary survey of neighboring agencies in an effort to be competitive. In addition, the city leaders implemented a self-paid medical insurance, to help save employees money. In addition, dental, vision and life insurance is offered. Officers receive benefits in the form of shift differential, longevity pay, tuition reimbursement, uniform allowance, phone stipend, and are assigned a fleet vehicle. Most recently, city leaders voted in a groundbreaking benefit with a 401(a) matching option that now is available. This will allow officers, especially young officers, an additional retirement savings opportunity.
Listening to officers is extremely important, especially when a police department goes through extreme changes. The changes created employment openings, shift/scheduling changes and overtime opportunities. Most importance, was meeting the needs of officers and how it relates to their personal life. A one-year schedule replaced a rotating schedule to allow each officer to work consistent hours on three shifts. This included a guaranteed six months of weekends off. Additionally, a hybrid schedule was created, which offered four, 10-hour days, five, 8-hour days, and five, 12-hour days, plus two, 10-hour days.
My long-term goal for the police department is to assist each of my officers in reaching their long-term goals. Whether it is through continuing education, assuring they are able to meet the needs of their family, or providing them with state-of-the-art safety measures. I wish for all my officers to work to their potential. Choosing law enforcement as a career is very rewarding. Those who choose it are passionate about protecting and serving their community. I strive to develop each officer’s talents so he or she is successful in this career.