Assistant Chief Hanson moves to Chief

Sarah Bunich
St. James Plaindealer

Assistant Chief Rochelle Hanson at the August 17 city council meeting was appointed as the new Chief of Police for St. James.

Hanson started at the St. James Police Department in 2002. Since starting as a patrol officer, she has worked for both the Police and Sheriff's Departments. 

" I started as a patrol officer. I did that for a good 15 years, then I worked as an investigator for the sheriffs office for three years," said Hanson. " I continued to work part time for the police department to help train in new officers."

For the past five years Hanson has been working as the assistant chief of police. She started the position when Chief Rick Eisfeld started as Police Chief after Mark Carvatt retired. The last 20 years Hanson said have gone by really face and it hasn't been boring like younger people think it can be working at the same place for 20 years.

In her time working in the three different positions she has had learned things she will being bring with to help her when she starts as chief. Being the training officer for the new ones on the force Hanson said it taught her patience because it made her step back and remember that they are new and she had been doing this for years and see how they are doing as well. By doing that she has been able to read people a lot better because she had to open herself up to that.

Along with her bringing what she has learned in the last 20 years to help her, Hanson has plans to bring back opportunities for the community to know who the officers are and for the officers to connect with the community.

" 10 years ago we had a majority of the officers have been here for quiet some time so the community knew them." said Hanson." I think we have a little bit of a disconnect over the years just because we have such a high turnover rate. I don't feel like a lot of the community members know our new officers. I would like to work on changing that for the better down the road."

One thing Hanson mentioned possibly bring back is the national night out. Last month there was a Bloc party that they fire and police department was a part of with a few other organizations in St. James. The way Hanson talked about this they would be working with the city and fire department like they have done in the past. Hanson said it was a big deal and they spent months planning them and every officer in the department had a job, which is all the focused on during national night out.