PDT Staff Writer
Lieutenant Lynn Brewer will be sworn in next week as the Portsmouth Police Department’s newest captain.
Brewer attended the meeting of the Portsmouth Civil Service Commission Wednesday, and was told that of the three people who took the recent captain’s exam, he was the only one who passed, with a combined score of 94.708. That figure took into consideration his efficiency points and seniority in addition to the actual test score. Seventy percent is required in order to receive a passing grade.
Lieutenants Jerry Leach and Debbie Brewer Jenkins fell just short of that percentage.
“The appointment authority on this is the mayor,” Commission interim secretary Jo Ann Aeh said. “He will administer the oath. Once he takes the oath, he’s a captain.”
“It will be next week some time, either Wednesday or Thursday,” Portsmouth Mayor David Malone said. “His daughter will be in from Florida around noon on Wednesday, so I’ll wait until she gets here.”
The next big question is whether or not Brewer will be eligible to take the test for Chief of Police, the position being held on an interim basis by the only current captain on the force, Robert Ware.
“In order to sit for a promotional exam, an individual is supposed to have been in the prior rank for a period of one year before the promotional exam,” Commission member Dr. Wayne Wheeler said. “Because we have been short of captains on the police force, and we have an acting chief, we administered the captain’s exam, and we have one (Lynn Brewer) who is qualified to be promoted to captain. So when we then make the chief’s exam available, if we adhere to the one year requirement from the date of promotion, then there will be no other captain available to take the exam, other than the current acting chief (Ware). If, in fact, the time and rank dates back to when the position first became available then we do not have to wait that year for the chief’s exam, and Captain Brewer would be eligible to take the chief’s exam, so we would have two captains to take the exam.”
The Commission is awaiting an opinion on the matter from Portsmouth City Solicitor Mike Jones.
“It is our hope that Mr. Jones will provide us with a legal opinion at the next meeting of the Commission, which is the second Monday (10) in September,” Wheeler said. A call to Jones was not immediately returned on Wednesday afternoon.
Wheeler said when a date is set for the chief’s exam, each candidate must be given 60 days in which to study before the test is administered. After the test results come back, the list of eligible candidates will be given to Malone to select a chief. Aeh said the mayor is required by state law to select the candidate with the highest score.
“If you have less than two captains taking the test, they can go down to lieutenants,” Aeh said.
The vacant captain’s position occurred in February of 2011 when, then Captain David Thoroughman officially left the Portsmouth Police Department. Thoroughman became the first commissioned officer at Shawnee State University on Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, when he was sworn in as SSU Security Chief.
Wheeler said the city is currently looking for candidates for positions in both the Police Department and the Fire Department.
“There will be police and fire recruit exams given in December,” Wheeler said. “No date has been set.”
“Anyone wishing to apply to take the test should go to the Solicitor’s office, which will be listed on the posting (for the position). They get an application, fill it out and return it. There will be a deadline. It is usually 30 days,” Aeh said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com