VPD names two assistant chiefs

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Planning for the future has forced the Vidalia Police Department to restructure, Chief of Police Billy Hammers said.

George Rutherford and Frank Webb were both appointed assistant chief of police when Bartel Schnieder retired from the position after 30 years of police service.

“I restructured the department because we are growing,” Hammers said.

Email newsletter signup

“It splits up the responsibility so that not so much is put on one person.”

“This restructuring didn’t cost the city any more money,” Hammers said. “I took some of Schnieder’s salary and gave them a raise.”

“The raises I gave them didn’t even match Schnieder’s salary,” Hammers said.

Rutherford is responsible for administrative duties, which include training, dispatches and investigations.

Rutherford has worked for the Vidalia Police Department for 12 years. He also served on the Natchez police force for 28 years, and was an assistant chief of police there at the time of his retirement.

Rutherford hopes to intensify training and to work with the Department of Homeland Security to streamline law enforcement.

“I’d like to, as money allows, increase training and in-service training,” Rutherford said.

“I’d like to make it a monthly thing.”

“We’ve also gotten a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to help link our computers with the sheriff’s office and with the district attorney.”

Webb’s duties include directing patrol, reserve officers and crash reporting.

He has served in Vidalia for the last 28 years.

“Schnieder must have been a great policeman,” Webb said.

“It took two of us to replace him.”

Two lieutenants, Jim Boren and Arthur Lewis, were also promoted to captain in the restructuring.

Lewis works under Webb, and Boren works under Rutherford.

“Do we need both of these [assistant chiefs-of-police] right now?” Hammers said.

“I don’t know. We will, though, and I’m getting things ready to grow.”