By Josh Jones
Times Tribune Editor
TROY — The Troy City Council approved and announced the next assistant police chief of Troy as well as ordinances related to the position of chief and assistant chief and qualifications during Monday’s regular meeting.
The council unanimously approved the appointment of Lieutenant Andrew Evans to Assistant Chief, as well as approved the promotions of Sergeant Daniel Lipe to Lieutenant and Detective Todd Hays to Sergeant effective Feb. 26. According to Times Tribune archives, the position of assistant chief has been vacant since May 1, 2023.
Troy Chief of Police Chris Wasser gave his reaction to the promotions and filling the position of assistant chief.
“It is great that the Assistant Chief’s position was filled with such a qualified candidate. Lt. Evans and myself share the same goals for our agency, and I am looking forward to working with him everyday to keep improving the quality of law enforcement service we provide,” Wasser said, “I am looking forward to working with these next leaders of the department and their visions of our department in future. I think it is going to be great for our city and I’m looking forward to seeing them grow in their careers.”
Mayor David Nonn said that the city is happy to announce Evans as the assistant chief.
“He has been with the department for 17 years and we are looking forward to great things from him,” Nonn said.
No swearing in ceremony took place on Monday and it is expected to be held at a future meeting.
Times Tribune archives state that last month the council voted down an ordinance regarding creating Title II, Chapter 35 Police, Section 35.045 (Assistant Chief of Police) within the codified ordinances. The council instructed the city administrator to create a new ordinance that includes a four-year college degree requirement, which was brought before the council on Monday.
During public input, Citizen Heather Stirling expressed her concerns regarding the ordinances making a four-year college degree a requirement for the positions of Chief of Police and Assistant Chief of Police. She argued that the requirement would disqualify at least two lieutenants on the force who have dedicated over 20 years of service to the department starting various programs, outreach and serving and protecting the citizens of Troy. She also noted that she served as a secretary for the police pension board for over eight years.
“Protecting and serving our community is one of the most important jobs out there, leadership is also important. I believe great leaders are made over time gaining experience and perspective from the day to day,” Stirling said. “I am not here to push for any one individual to be promoted. I personally feel like there are multiple candidates that have earned the right to be considered, that is what they should be, considered. I simply feel like taking that opportunity away from two officers simply because they don’t have a degree would be doing a disservice not only to them, but to our community.”
An excerpt from the ordinance references the college degree requirement.
“The Assistant Chief of Police must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four (4) year college or university and have at least five years of full-time service as a police officer,” The ordinance states.
When the council reached the ordinance item later in the meeting, Councilmember Tim Flint said that he also questions the four year degree.
“In my opinion if someone got a degree 25 years ago, how relevant is that today to be the assistant chief of police in the city of Troy,” Flint said. “I just don’t see where it is relevant, we are passing over some pretty experienced individuals by doing this. That is my opinion anyway.”
The ordinance was approved with council members Elizabeth Hellrung, Nathan Henderson, Sam Italiano, Debbie Knoll, Tony Manley and Troy Turner voting in favor and council members Dan Dawson and Flint voting against (6-2). An ordinance with the same requirement for the chief of police was also approved, with Dawson as the only council member voting against (7-1).
After the meeting when asked, Dawson said his concerns were similar to Councilman Flint’s as to why he voted no to a four-year degree requirement.
“I think a two-year degree should be sufficient,” Dawson said.
Troy City Administrator Jay Keeven said that he believes all the promoted officers will do well in their positions. As for the ordinance regarding the four-year degree, Keeven explained why he believed the majority of the council approved moving forward.
“Police departments, throughout the state, throughout the nation have different requirements for different positions. Some require the chief to have a four-year degree and the assistant chief have an associate’s degree, some don’t require degrees,” Keeven said. “I think our council felt strongly that in a community where they do have a well-educated population, they like to have their police command staff on par. I think part of their thought was if the chief ever were to leave, you have the opportunity with the assistant chief that has the same qualifications as the chief to fill that position, not that it is automatic.”
The next city council meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, due to Presidents’ Day that Monday.