Friday, July 14, 2000

Chief wants to reach out


Independence appointment caps months of turmoil

By Jeff Carlton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        INDEPENDENCE — For three months, the police department has been led by an interim chief.

        Now, the Independence Police Department is back to having a plain old chief.

        City officials removed former Lt. Shawn Butler's temporary title, making the acting police chief into Independence's police chief this month. He had been acting chief since early April.

        He replaces Ed Porter, who was fired in April.

        “Shawn seems to want to reach out to the community and be more of someone whom people can relate with and communicate with,” Mayor Tom Kriege said.

        Chief Butler has been a police officer for 15 years, the past six in Independence. He was promoted to sergeant in 1995 and to lieutenant in 1998.

        He has a law enforcement degree from Northern Kentucky University and is a graduate of the criminal justice executive development program run by the state.

        He plans on leading the 22-person force toward more community policing — giving safety talks, getting involved with school programs and sponsoring neighborhood events.

        The force is gearing up for a neighborhood program in the Falcon Ridge subdivision, where officers will put on a bike rodeo and give safety talks to children.

        “It gives the residents a chance to get to know the police and vice versa,” Chief Butler said.

        “It makes us more approachable and allows children to see us in a different light.”

        Chief Porter was first placed on an unexplained paid leave of absence in April and then fired for a difference in management styles, the mayor said.

        Chief Porter later sued the city.

        Chief Butler, then a lieutenant, immediately replaced the former chief while attorneys attempted to resolve the situation.

        Chief Butler said the force already has adjusted to its new boss and that little will change now that the “interim” has been dropped from his title.

        “I feel we have a really professional department here that has responded very well to the changes,” Chief Butler said.

        “In spite of the turmoil, we haven't skipped a beat. The officers here have been very supportive of me.”

       



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