As of April 1, all five Littleton Police Department lieutenants were reclassified to commanders as part of a reorganization that has been ongoing since last August.
“The goal of the LPD is to maintain the highest professional standards,” said LPD spokesperson Cmdr. Kim Ferber, herself a recipient of the reclassification after being promoted to lieutenant last year. “In part, this is achieved by continually assessing the LPD. In doing so, the organization determined lieutenants were performing the same essential job functions as commanders in other law-enforcement agencies. To keep consistent with the best practices and trends in law enforcement, the LPD determined a retitle was necessary.”
Ferber adds that their duties and salary remain unchanged.
Also, an additional supervisory layer was established recently, when eight officers were promoted to new corporal positions.
“Police officers meeting the eligibility requirements of the position completed a rigorous testing process in order to be considered for promotion,” said Ferber. “Police officers promoted to the rank of corporal receive additional compensation for their supervisory responsibilities.”
The Littleton Police Department currently has 70 sworn officers. Of those, 27 are in supervisory positions – nearly 40 percent. Above the eight corporals are 11 sergeants, five commanders, two division chiefs and Chief Heather Coogan.
By way of comparison, Wheat Ridge has about 10,000 fewer residents than Littleton’s nearly 42,000. Its police department has 72 sworn officers, and about 25 percent are supervisors: the chief, two commanders, four lieutenants and 11 sergeants. There are no corporals.
“We have had several retirements recently,” Coogan said last August. “It is important to the operations of the police department that we continue to staff the street to provide the best service possible. This requires us to hire and promote as necessary.”
In 2005, an independent study recommended reorganizing the department under two commanders instead of three, as had been the case. After Cmdr. Bruce Beckman retired last May, Coogan reclassified Bill Christensen and Bob Brandt from commanders to division chiefs and eliminated the third position.
At the time, Christensen was on paid leave and under investigation for wiretapping after it was discovered he had been listening to the recorded phone calls of two lieutenants. The district attorney declined to file charges, and an internal investigation cleared him, as well.