Fort Wayne, Ind. – Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry today reemphasized his commitment to public safety by announcing the City Administration plans to move forward with implementing a Director of Public Safety position.
Joined by several City Council members, Mayor Henry explained that now is the appropriate time to implement the Director of Public Safety position, which was in place under several mayors in past years.
Mayor Henry has chosen Rusty York for the new position. York has served as Police Chief since 2000 and has 36 years of experience in public safety.
Earlier this year, local funds were approved to have police and fire academy classes, which will begin in 2014 and result in additional police officers and firefighters to protect the community. Last week, the City announced it has received a federal COPS grant that will result in more police officers, which will begin in 2015. York will oversee the Fort Wayne Police Department and Fort Wayne Fire Department and be responsible for reviewing and ensuring that staffing levels in the police and fire departments meet the needs of the City. The chiefs of the police and fire departments will report to York.
In addition to overseeing the academy classes, York will lead the efforts for Fort Wayne to receive grant funding for public safety, further enhance collaborative efforts among public safety agencies, mentor public safety employees, and provide direction and input on union negotiations.
“New academy classes, additional funding for public safety, and a renewed commitment to partnering on safety issues with citizens and businesses make this the right time to come together with a Director of Public Safety position,” said Mayor Henry.
An ordinance creating the position will be introduced at tonight’s City Council meeting, with discussion scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 3 and possible final passage on Tuesday, Dec. 10. If approved, York would begin his duties on January 1, 2014.
“I want our City to be as safe as possible. We’re facing challenges in Fort Wayne, and we’re working tirelessly to meet those challenges,” said Mayor Henry. “Investing in public safety is critical to being a place where people want to live, work, and play. We value great neighborhoods, quality of life, and job and business growth. Enhancing our public safety efforts through the new Director of Public Safety role puts us in position for future success.”
Mayor Henry also today reinforced the work that occurs each day to protect citizens and businesses. The Fort Wayne Police Department works collaboratively with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Indiana State Police, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, and the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office in efforts to reduce violence and solve crimes.
A replacement for York as Police Chief will be announced before the end of the year.