Howell, Hoffman Advance In Police Department Shake-Up
by Paul Bass | Apr 6, 2012 10:10 am
Posted to: Legal Writes
As Lt. Kenny Howell prepares to return to Newhallville, he remembers not just the time drug dealers almost killed him—but how the neighborhood rallied around him and their community cop.
Howell will take over as the district manager, or top cop, of the Newhallville and East Rock neighborhoods as part of a wide-ranging police department shake-up.
Under the reorganization, all the members of the narcotics unit will depart for other divisions; and the head narcotics cop, Lt. Jeff Hoffman, will step into the top patrol commander’s slot.
Supervisors throughout the department are getting new roles as a major reorganization of the department gets under way.
Assistant Chief Luiz Casanova said Howell’s and Hoffman’s transfers, like all the others, will take effect over the next few weeks.
Howell replaces Thaddeus Reddish—who like Casanova just become one of four new assistant chiefs—in Newhallville/East Rock.
“I was looking for someone who can hit the ground running, who’s familiar with the neighborhood, who’s passionate what they do and could fill Thad’s shoes,” Casanova said. “Thad was very committed, very community-oriented. I thought Kenny would be the best person.”
The assignment is a homecoming for Howell. He started his career walking the beat on Winchester Avenue and surrounding Newhallville streets at the dawn of community policing in the early ‘90s.
“I enjoyed the people there. The people know me. I’m ecstatic about working with kids in the neighborhood,” Howell said.
While he developed long-lasting relationships on the beat, he also earned the enmity of some drug dealers who worked a patch of the district, he recalled. One day, as Howell and Officer Billy Hurley were arresting one of them, the group set on them.
“They just went off on us. They were chanting ‘Get his gun! Get his gun!’ This guy was 300 pounds. I was 130. He was pounding my face in. Thank God I got out of there.”
Howell was heartened to see Newhallville community leaders and neighbors pouring in to help send the assailant to jail and to support their community cop.
Currently Howell serves as deputy patrol commander of the traffic unit. (He’s pictured at the top of the story investigating this Westville traffic accident last August.)
Lt. Jeff Hoffman, who oversees narcotics, said he’s pleased to be moving over to the position of top patrol commander. The job opened up when Lt. Casanova moved up to assistant chief.
“I’ve spent most of my career in patrol,” said Hoffman (pictured discussing this 2010 drug sweep with a neighbor at the scene), who’s been on the force almost 17 years. “I look forward to going back.”
Casanova said Hoffman will be in charge of day-to-day operations of beat cops, traffic cops, emergency services, and motor units. Hoffman will report directly to Casanova.
Police Chief Dean Esserman has spent four months interviewing all his sergeants and lieutenants and consulting on the broad reorganization plan. The first phase included naming four new assistant chiefs last week, then deciding along with them on these latest reassignments.
Esserman said officials will announce those assignments soon.
Police Union President Arpad Tolnay said he’s taking a “wait-and-see” approach to the wave of changes. He noted that the entire narcotics division, which Esserman recently moved from an off-site location to police headquarters (while removing the word “tactical” from its title), will have all new people in it, with its current members headed to other divisions. A report by an outside panel—the Police Executive Research Forum, or PERF—that studied the department after a 2007 narcotics corruption scandal suggested that the department rotate members out of the narcotics division every few years.
“I’d like to know how that’s going to play out” along with other changes, Tolnay said Thursday night.
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Great work for all of the NHPD..for keeping our streets and protecting us all..Prayers and Safe keeping to each of you that you always get home to your Loved ones and as Summer approaches in the Hood keep well as you are all the best in all that you do..Kuddo’s to the Chief too….Thank you NHI for great awareness with your reporting!!!!
Hello Lt. Howell, just a reminder CEDAR HILL is part of your district….here is a map
oh and I corrected the story for ya guys….
Howell will take over as the district manager, or top cop, of the Newhallville, East Rock and Cedar Hill neighborhoods as part of a wide-ranging police department shake-up.
Is there any explanation from Esserman for the dissolving of the Narcotics Enforcement Unit?
posted by: Jones Gore on April 7, 2012 5:01pm
EXNHPD he did not dissolve the unit; he moved it back to PDHQ