Riley reinstates Selma police drug unit

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

The drug unit of the Selma Police Department is back.

On Wednesday, police chief William T. Riley III announced reorganization of the department, which he said would create a more effective command structure for accountability.

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The changes became effective Tuesday.

Riley made the announcement through a prepared statement before he left town for two weeks of training. He was unavailable for comment.

These are the first changes made public by Riley since he took the reins of the police department in early March.

“The police department continues to look for ways to improve its services to the citizens of Selma, and command efficiency is among the most important improvements,” Riley said in a prepared statement. “We want to ensure that our command structure facilitates the work of the police department’s employees from the top to the bottom.”

The drug unit was abolished under acting chief Jimmy Martin last October when the last drug task force member was reassigned to the patrol division, leaving the unit on the third floor unoccupied.

Riley also announced the establishment of an internal affairs unit. Generally, an internal affairs office of a police department responds to complaints about police and reviews internal management issues. This unit will report directly to the chief.

A training and recruiting unit has been organized to develop and improve training for officers on the force and hiring and recruiting new police officers.

“The command staff will wear a number of hats as we move through the first stage of this transition,” Riley said.

Riley did not identify officers who would fill the slots on any of the units.

Dr. Geraldine Allen, chairperson of the city council’s public safety committee, could not be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

Mayor James Perkins said he is pleased with chief Riley’s pace and the progress made so far.

“Let’s continue the progress,” Perkins said.