The Police Department will restructure its supervisory staff, effective Sunday, so captains are in charge of all department divisions. The number of road patrol shift captains will be cut in half.
Police Superintendent Christopher J. Carlin said the changes are intended to make police operations "more effective and efficient" by having more experienced, high-ranking officers directly in charge of each division.
He said he also hopes to save on overtime by cutting the number of required road patrol captains assigned per shift to one, from two.
The changes were made possible by provisions in the city's new contract with the Niagara Falls Police Captains and Lieutenants Association.
Until now, captains have supervised the Criminal Investigation and Traffic divisions, but lieutenants have been running the Youth Aid-Community Services and the Narcotics Intelligence divisions, as well as police administrative offices.
Effective Sunday, day-shift Road Patrol Capt. Gordon Warme will take over the Youth Aid-Community Services Division. In the past, Warme has served as a captain in both the Traffic and Criminal Investigation divisions.
Detective Capt. Morris Shamrock will leave as Criminal Division chief and be assigned to oversee the Narcotics Intelligence Division.
Carlin said Shamrock previously had been in charge of both the Criminal and Narcotics divisions, but was spread too thin because of the workload, leaving many supervisory duties in the narcotics unit to Detective Lt. John Chella. Shamrock, who worked as a narcotics officer earlier in his career, will now be able to focus in on drug investigations and continue to work with Chella.
Capt. Ernest C. Palmer, the former police chief who currently is a midnight-shift road patrol captain, is being appointed administrative captain.
Carlin said Palmer's immediate job will be to review and adjust police regulations, procedures, policies and operations to help the department receive state accreditation.
Under Palmer's guidance, the department will have to meet or surpass 144 state standards to earn accreditation under the State Law Enforcement Accreditation Program set up in 1988.
"We had Ernie trained to do this last winter," Carlin said.
Capt. John Soltys is being taken off the midnight road patrol shift and placed in charge of detectives in the Criminal Investigation Division. In previous years, Soltys served as a detective lieutenant in that division.
Capt. Andrew M. Viglucci will remain in charge of the Traffic Division.
Road patrol units will continue to be supervised by Capt. James A. Gray on days; Capt. James E. Gray afternoons; and Capt. Frank Granto on the midnight shift, Carlin said.
Previously, with two captains required to supervise each shift, the city often was required to call in another captain on overtime when a shift captain was sick or off duty, because under the old contract only a captain could fill in for a captain.
Also under the new contract, Carlin said, lieutenants will be allowed to take over patrol shift supervisory duties on weekends.