Tuesday, March 28, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Welcome, new chief

A search committee last week chose Geoffrey Herweg, 53, the deputy chief of the Lovington, N.M., police department, as Jacksonville’s next police chief. He will succeed Kenny Boyd, who has been with the department for 29 years, the last three as chief. Boyd announced his retirement earlier this year after serving with distinction in various capacities.

Boyd’s low-key but effective approach to law enforcement is worth emulating not just in Jacksonville but in all of our communities. Thank you, Kenny Boyd, for your long service to the community.

Herweg, who starts in a couple of weeks, has more than 30 years of law-enforcement and military experience and has been the deputy chief in Lovington since January 2015. He joined the Lovington force in 2012. He has a master’s degree in public administration and may pursue a doctorate.

Herweg served eight years in the Texas Army National Guard, starting out enlisted and ending up a second lieutenant. He was a rapid-response commander at Victory Base Complex, Baghdad, Iraq, as a civilian contractor, helping provide security for about 68,000 military and civilian personnel. He also served as shift supervisor for the U.S. Embassy Emergency Response Team in Afghanistan.

Mayor Gary Fletcher introduced Herweg, who goes by Jeff, to about 50 members of the police and fire department, city officials and others at a Friday afternoon gathering at the public safety building.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with two great police chiefs,” said the mayor, “Gary Sipes and Kenny Boyd, and now I feel that Jeff will take us to that next level.”

Herweg was partly chosen for his military experience. Jacksonville, home to Little Rock Air Force Base, he noted, is “a military town and I come from a military family. It is a small town (although nearly double the size of Lovington), and it’s a very welcoming community. That means more to me than anything.”

Chief Herweg, welcome to Jacksonville, one of the great military communities in the nation. It’s a job that requires reaching out to residents from all walks of life, but also coordination with the air base. Herweg’s decades of experience qualifies him for his new job. We look forward to a long partnership.