Sergeant promoted to chief
By Chris Strunk
Last Updated: September 07, 2017
Lloyd Newman, who has worked for the Valley Center Police Department for more than 20 years, was named chief of police this week.
City Administrator Scott Hildebrand announced during a council meeting Sept. 5 that Newman was offered the position and accepted it, pending the outcome of a background check.
“I am happy. I'm ready to get to work," Newman told The News. “I've been acting chief since the end of December. I'm anxious, once I pass my background check, to just get to work, get my staff in place and start making some changes."
Newman, 44, who grew up in Valley Center and graduated from Valley Center High School in 1991, started as a patrol officer with the department in 1995. He became a DARE officer in 1998. In 2000, Newman was promoted to sergeant, mainly involved in investigations. For the past several years, he's been in charge of administration.
Newman was appointed interim chief when Mark Hephner resigned in December. Newman said he's always wanted to be chief in Valley Center.
“That's been a goal of mine for a long time," Newman said. “In the first couple years working here, I knew this would be the place I wanted to retire. … I always knew that I wanted to do that as the head of the agency."
Newman acknowledged that the department has been through difficulties during the past year, with the resignation of a detective after a criminal trespassing arrest, the resignation of a sergeant charged with having inappropriate relationships with teenage girls and the resignation of the chief of police who hired the sergeant without a less than thorough background check.
“The last year was really a tough time for us," Newman said. “… It really gave the department a black eye as a whole. We've worked hard since then to get past that and we're going to continue to work hard. I think we have a lot of work to do yet just to gain trust back, but we've been working toward that."
Newman said his biggest priority is staffing. The department needs to hire an officer to replace Sara Schaller, who was appointed SRO at the intermediate and middle schools when Officer Allen Adams left.
Newman also must fill his former position as sergeant as well as the third sergeant position that has been open since former Officer Thomas Delgado resigned, and begin mapping out a plan to add another supervisory position in 2018.
“We're still building our staff," Newman said.
It's a slower and more deliberate process, too, Newman said, with extensive and solid background checks.
“I understand the past has been difficult," he said. “We're working hard to earn (the public's) trust back, and we're going to continue to do that. We want the community involved in what we do. … We just plan to work hard and gain their trust back."
Three groups of council members, clergy, school and business leaders interviewed three finalists last week. Hildebrand made the final selection.
In other business Sept. 5, the council:
•Recognized Valley Center resident Rhianna Schmidt, who won the League of Kansas Municipalities “If I Were Mayor" essay contest.
•Learned that Valley Center was recognized with a Safewise Safe City Award for community safety and crime prevention.
•Proclaimed Sept. 17 through 23 Constitution Week.
•Received a proposal from LeRoy Cammerer with the American Legion to dedicate a flag pole at the new Community Center & Library in Lions Park. The American Legion raised money for the new pole.
•Received the minutes from the Outdoor Spaces & Public Properties July 10 board meeting.
•Gave final approval to the standard traffic ordinance.
•Gave final approval to the uniform public offense code ordinance.
•Approved a bid of $13,700 from Atlas Electric to install pedestrian-crossing lights at the new crosswalk at Fifth and Emporia.
•Approved a bid of $12,514 from Unruh Fire for a firefighting pump skid that can be placed inside the fire department's smaller pickup truck and used to fight grass fires.
•Approved a series of bids for security at the new Community Center & Library and at City Hall. The city will spend about $5,000 with Install Connection on security cameras at the Community Center, up to $30,000 with Communication Technology Associates on building door access equipment at the Community Center and up to $13,000 with Communication Technology Associates for building door access equipment at City Hall.
same security proposal for city hall.
•Approved spending up to $16,945 on temporary easement acquisition along Fifth from the bridge to Fiddlers Creek. The procedure will clear the way for the street reconstruction project and sidewalk installation.
•Met in executive session twice for a total of 35 minutes to discuss employee performance.
•Approved a request by Faith Church to use Lions Park Sept. 30 for its Movie in the Park event.