Small to resign as Altoona police and fire chief

By: WEAU 13 News Staff Email
By: WEAU 13 News Staff Email

Altoona’s Police and Fire Commission is working on scheduling a meeting to discuss a transition plan which will include the process for recruitment of a new Chief.

ALTOONA, Wis. (CITY OF ALTOONA NEWS RELEASE) -- In a letter dated August 30, 2013, Altoona Public Safety Director James Small announced that he will resign from his position effective November 30, 2013. Small cites family obligations as the reason for his announcement.

“I have considered an extended leave of absence to care for the ongoing medical conditions of my spouse’s parents, wrote Small. However, the role of the Chief is an important one and I don’t think an extended leave is in the best interest of the City.”

During his nearly two years as Public Safety Director, Small implemented many changes that will continue to positively impact police and fire services in Altoona well into the future.
Small implemented a policing approach that encouraged self-initiated contacts, high visibility in the community and alternative methods and training.

Since 2011, reported crimes have declined, clearance rates of reported cases have improved and self-initiated arrests have increased significantly. In addition, the Department effectively handled a number of high profile cases including the Thomas West child assault case.

The Altoona Fire Department has also made significant improvements in operational readiness through strategic equipment upgrades and improved training. Fire and emergency medical service response times have trended downward and participation rates on calls have improved.

In commenting on the Chief’s departure, Mayor Jack Blackburn praised the Chief and his accomplishments and thanked him for providing ample notice. “Recruiting a well-qualified Chief is a difficult process,” stated the Mayor. “We are grateful the Chief provided us with sufficient notice to provide a smooth transition that will benefit the City, the Department and the citizens of Altoona.”

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