Covington Police Department: A Year In Review – Chief Tim Lentz

Covington Police Department 2014
Covington Police Department 2014

One year ago, Mayor Mike Cooper hired Tim Lentz as Police Chief for the City of Covington. Chief Lentz accepted the position with a promise to focus efforts on rebuilding the image and changing the culture within the Covington Police Department.

Over the past year, the Covington Police Department has undergone many changes aimed at rebuilding the trust and support of our community. A year ago, the Covington Police Department was at bare minimum staffing levels, mired in controversy, and public trust was at an all-time low, according to Lentz.

In December of last year, Mayor Cooper and Chief Lentz conducted an agency-wide inspection of the police department to establish a baseline from which to track progress and evaluate changes over time. On the first anniversary of his hire, Chief Lentz and Mayor Cooper again conducted an agency-wide inspection of the Covington Police Department this morning, and what they saw was a vastly different police force.

Cooper and Lentz thanked all of the officers for adopting a community oriented policing philosophy and building relationships with the citizens they serve. Chief Lentz noted that every officer has worked tirelessly to rebuild trust within the community and has helped continue to make Covington a desirable and safe place to live.

The Covington Police Department has undergone many changes over the past year. Officers have transitioned to a more approachable light blue uniform from the previous gray uniforms worn. Two unnecessary positions have been eliminated from the department in order to promote efficiency. Every employee has undergone extensive ethics training, personally taught by Chief Lentz, and all supervisors have attended leadership training. From all-time low staffing levels, we are near fully staffed and have new applicants every day.

The Covington Police Department has partnered with GSRCPI (Gulf States Regional Center for Public Safety Innovations), a federally funded organization, to formally adopt a community policing philosophy. This philosophy included seminars for city government and police employees focused on promoting positive relationships with our citizens. A final seminar was held for the citizens of Covington to demonstrate the philosophy and how the community can be involved in the operation of their police department.

The Covington Police Department has been involved with several programs supporting the children of our community. Working with the Exchange Club of West St. Tammany, officers have promoted awareness of child abuse prevention. Officers regularly work with the Boys & Girls Club, and this year conducted our first annual Kids Camp, a week-long event attended by nearly 100 children.

In an effort to promote positive reinforcement, Chief Lentz created the “I Got Caught” program. Using donations from several local businesses, t-shirts were made with “I Got Caught” on the front and “Wearing My Seatbelt” on the back. Officers went to each of the local high schools at closing time and monitored students’ seatbelt usage as they left school. Rather than issuing citations to students not wearing their seatbelts, officers gave the shirts away to students that were wearing them. Continuing the effort to promote positive reinforcement, additional patrols were conducted, and officers gave away ice cream to people observed wearing their seatbelts.

Mayor Cooper stated, “The Covington Police Department has worked hard over the past year to rebuild the trust of our citizens and transform itself into a more professional and efficient organization. I would like to thank our community for the support it has given, and I commend Chief Lentz for his effort and dedication in providing the highest level of service to our community.”

Chief Lentz said, “During my acceptance speech, I said that change is coming, it’s coming fast, and it’s inevitable. I truly believe that we are a better police department today than we were a year ago. The men and women of the Covington Police Department have embraced the reforms we have made, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. We will continue to make the Covington Police Department the best it can be and make our citizens proud of what we have accomplished.”

Covington Police Department
609 North Columbia Street Covington, LA 70433

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 985-892-8500

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