LANCASTER — The long-standing controversy regarding Allen Weston’s role in the Lancaster Police Department reignited during Monday’s City Council meeting.
Mayor Brenda Powers believes Weston will be demoted to patrolman under a restructuring proposed by Lancaster Police Chief Rodney Kidd, she said outside the meeting. Weston currently is assistant police chief and former interim police chief. In the past, City Council rejected Powers’ suggestions that Weston be named to the permanent police chief post because they believed he needed more administrative experience.
Kidd, a former Louisville Metro Police sergeant, took the Lancaster post six months ago. Including the chief, the department has nine officers, four of which are administrators.
City Council members and Powers passed the 2012-13 budget on the understanding that one of the current police department administrators would go back to patrolman duties.
During Monday’s meeting, Kidd reported that he and Powers were at an impasse because she did not agree with his restructuring proposal.
“I have the utmost confidence in our police chief,” Councilwoman Maggie Mick said. “He has proven himself an excellent non-partisan judge of character. Our agreement was no one would be protected (from possible demotion.)”
Mick and other council members said they did not know who would be demoted, though Powers said after the meeting she believes it would be Weston.
Several council members and Powers argued during the meeting, which at one point caused the mayor to say, “Children, I’ve never in my life seen anything like you.”
Councilman Bret Baeirlein said he just wanted one police chief, to which Powers responded, “Well you got him for a while.” Councilman Chris Davis asked the mayor what she meant by that statement; Powers did not directly respond to the question.
“I’m the little dog on the totem pole,” Powers said. “I’m getting tired of being that little dog on the totem pole.”
After repeated refusals to approve the restructuring, Powers said, “He (Kidd) can have his reign. I have six people against one. There’s no way I can win. I will do it. I don’t want to, but I will do it.”
During a phone interview today, Baeirlein said the department is “top heavy” and that having too many commanders puts citizens at risk.
“Having too many people in the office negatively impacts our ability to patrol and protect people,” Baierlein said.