Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Serpas bids farewell to Nashville, giving praise to police department

Metro police veteran Steve Anderson takes over as interim chief By Brian Haas • THE TENNESSEAN • May 11, 2010 Ronal Serpas on Monday handed Nashville's police department over to a 35-year police veteran who has been at the agency since he was an officer in training. Deputy Chief Steve Anderson takes charge of the department while Nashville is still reeling from historic flooding. Serpas, who has been chief since January 2004, will move on to another city in need: his hometown of New Orleans. He left the department only four days after announcing he accepted a position as superintendent of police there. In his farewell address to police employees, Serpas praised the department's progress in building relationships with businesses and residents and said that crime-fighting initiatives — including his heavy reliance on crime statistics — have worked. "Through our years of fighting crime, make no mistake about it, many of our neighborhoods are safer today than they were six years ago," he wrote. Anderson joined the department as a rookie officer in 1975 and worked his way up over the past 35 years in nearly every capacity. As an administrator, he has overseen operations, criminal investigations and road patrol functions. Anderson said Monday his biggest job is to maintain the department as is and take care of the officers until a successor is chosen. He said residents should not be concerned about a leadership transition as Nashville recovers from disaster. Instead, they should expect, "the very same," he said. "We'll be in the same posture, same officers doing the very same thing," he said. Union endorses fill-in Sgt. Robert Weaver, president of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, said Anderson is a good choice for interim chief. "Especially in a time like this, there needs to be stability," Weaver said. "He is a good person in a position of stability." It's unclear how long it will take to find a permanent replacement for Serpas. Mayor Karl Dean has said the search for a chief is secondary to flood recovery and has set no timetable. Anderson said he is not applying to be chief permanently. He said he preferred police work to taking on more administrative duties. "I like what I do," Anderson said with a smile.

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