Lovvorn takes helm of Greenville Police Department
Published 9:23 am Saturday, December 24, 2016
Justin Lovvorn took the oath of office and began his duties as Greenville’s new chief of police on Nov. 7.
The 20-year GPD veteran was the top choice to take the helm after longtime Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram announced his retirement following 31 years of service to the City of Greenville.
Lovvorn has shown he has the right stuff to lead law enforcement in the Camellia City, says Mayor Dexter McLendon.
“I have watched Justin grow as a professional and as a person over the last 20 years,” McLendon said. “I am truly impressed with the passion he has for his job and for the city of Greenville. His ability to solve problems and crime cases within the community is amazing. He’s consistent and organized with everything he does. I was confident that he’d do an excellent job when he was sworn in on Nov. 7, and he’s proven his ability to lead the department in the short amount of time he’s been in the position. He’s absolutely doing a great job.” McLendon said that Justin also received high recommendations from former police chief Lonzo Ingram.
Lovvorn began his law enforcement career in 1996 in dispatch while a student at Troy University. He then served as a patrol officer before working his way to sergeant, lieutenant, captain and commander of the GPD’s Criminal Investigations Division.
The new chief has already made one change in the organizational structure of the department, creating an assistant police chief position and naming Anthony Bargainer to the position. “It was the perfect time to create the assistant police chief position,” Lovvorn said. “Anthony’s 25 years of experience and his proven track record in the department and the community made him the obvious candidate for the position. He knows the department well, is well received in the community and has the qualities needed for the assistant police chief.” Lovvorn added that the role of the assistant police chief helps create movement in the department and allows others in the department to move forward in their career path.
As far as current staffing goes, the ebb and flow of the department’s staff remains the same with a few transitions due to retirement of personnel roles within the department. Christy Brack has been named administrative assistant to the chief following Lil Pouncey’s retirement from the position after 25 years. “We had a lot of quality applicants for the administrative assistant position,” Lovvorn said. “Christy brings a wealth of accounting experience and technical knowledge with her that are in accordance with the department’s needs. Her experience made her the best fit for the position.”
Lieutenant Danny Bond is currently in training to transition into the role of patrol commander, which will be effective at the beginning of the New Year, following the retirement of Captain Randy Courtney, who has 25 years of service with the GPD. “Danny has the ability to work effectively and fairly with the public and department while still managing to enforce the department’s rules and regulations. He has the personality, skills and experience for the position,” Lovvorn said.
Lovvorn said that Lieutenant Joseph Disney has been tabbed to lead investigations. He added that he’s in the process of creating a new investigator role that will likely be in place after the first of the year.
Lovvorn credits the police department’s former and current staff, the mayor and city council for establishing the GPD as a good department with very little turnover and providing opportunities for officers to progress in their career and division. He added that much of the success of the police department comes from maintaining a open line of communication with the community in which the department serves.
“We have a good relationship with the community, but we always want to improve upon our officers’ relationships and contact with the public. It’s our goal to be more involved in the day-to-day activities and events of the community, not just when we receive a call. We simply want to improve the community relationships that we have and always strive to make it better,” Lovvorn said.
A goal that the new chief has in store for 2017 is to create a Second Chance Program that is geared towards juveniles who have had brushes with the law or displayed potential risk factors for being caught up in criminal activity in the future. “The program would allow juveniles to create bonds with our officers,” explained Lovvorn. “The program is still in the preliminary stages, but it would include participation in physical agility activities, getting to know our officers and how and why we do what we do every day, and helping them understand that there are many opportunities and options they can pursue if they work hard and stay out of trouble.
Our goal for the program is to figure out what their goals and hopes are for their future, and help them move towards their future goals.”