Lancaster names police chief

November 04, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - The city's new police chief is a familiar face.

Monday night, the City Council agreed to hire Ronald Lamb as chief, replacing Wanda Shelton who has served as interim chief since Russell Preston stepped down Aug. 4.

"After careful consideration, we have chosen our chief of police," Mayor Billy Moss said after the council met in a closed door session. "As of tonight, Ron Lamb will be the chief of police,"

This will be Lamb's second stint as chief. He came to Lancaster in July 1995 from the Nicholasville Police Department but left the city force about 3 1/2 years later to work as a deputy for the Garrard County Sheriff's Department.


Lamb said he had a "great time" with the sheriff's office and had nothing but good things to say about that department. But he said the police chief's position offers him more in the long run.

"In the long term, this is where I need to be," he said. "When I looked at the retirement, I can retire quicker here than where I was at."

Lamb said he was approached by several police officers and citizens asking him to apply for the position.

Developing better public relations is a goal of his, he said.

"I'm a PR type person," he said. "I want to see them (officers) more involved with school activities."

Lamb also wants each police cruiser to have a video camera and said he will seek grants to help pay for them. He said the police department has done excellent work recently, speaking specifically of the officers' foot patrol on city streets during trick or treating Friday night.

"That was a great idea," he said.

Moss said the council considered seven applicants for the position, three from within the department and four from outside. Despite not naming Shelton to the full-time chief's position, he had nothing but praise for her work. Moss said it was tough choosing Lamb over her.

However, Moss will recommend that Lamb name Shelton assistant chief.

"You've earned it," Moss told Shelton, who was joined by officers Allen Weston, Tim Royce and Roy Gambrel and Sgt. Willie Skeens in council chambers when Lamb's hiring was announced.

"Wanda did a really good job," said Skeens after the meeting. Royce, Gambrel and Skeens echoed that. The officers also were pleased with the naming of Lamb.

"I'm tickled to death," said Royce.

"I love it," said Weston.

Shelton said she was "relieved" that Lamb was hired as she feared the council would name a chief that she and the officers would be unfamiliar with.

"I'm glad to see him come back," she said. Shelton said she was disappointed "a little" that she was not given the permanent chief's job, but understands why Lamb was chosen.

"He's got a lot more experience," she said.

Shelton, who has been with the force five years, believes that once she gets a little more experience, another opportunity may come her way. Meantime, she's excited about the "assistant chief" opportunity.

"I'll be honored (to serve)," she said.

Lamb wants to established a chain of command and said he would recommend that Shelton receive the assistant's chief position.

"She's done an excellent job," he said.

Lamb will be sworn in Nov. 10.

Also Monday, the council met in executive session to discuss a pending lawsuit. Afterward, Moss said the closed-door session dealt with discussion of two lawyers negotiating a settlement in the suit filed against the city by former utility worker Deborah Carter.

Carter filed in the suit in March claiming that she worked in a hostile atmosphere when employed by the city last year. In an answer to the suit, Lancaster denied Carter's allegations.

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