There’s a new second in command in the St. Clair Shores Police Department, and he’s a 21-year veteran of the force.
The new deputy chief, Todd Woodcox, was promoted from the rank of lieutenant to take the position, passing a series of “very difficult” test scenarios that Police Chief Michael Walleman said are “very difficult to prepare for.”
“We promote training and pursuing your education,” he said. “It also makes you more valuable to the department.”
Woodcox, who has served with the St. Clair Shores Police Department for 21 years, said he appreciates the support the citizens of St. Clair Shores have repeatedly given to the Police Department.
“My No. 1 goal as deputy chief is to make sure we earn their trust and support every day,” he said after the promotion ceremony Dec. 6 at City Hall.
A father of four children, Woodcox said he, “plans on sticking around.”
Also promoted Dec. 6, to the rank of sergeant, was former Detective Dennis Kozikowski.
Walleman said that, in his time as chief he’s had the honor of promoting 10 police officers to the rank of sergeant and six sergeants to the rank of lieutenant. This is the second time he has promoted a lieutenant to the rank of deputy chief.
He calls himself a “traditionalist,” explaining that he appreciates promoting from within the department officers that have a connection to the community.
“My opinion is that department heads … having roots and understanding the city is a tremendous benefit,” he said. “I’ve watched him (Woodcox) grow up in the department. It helps with the overall ability to run the agency.”
In July, City Council voted to make changes to Administrative Regulation 4, which covers non-union employees, including the police and fire chiefs, deputy police chief, community development director, assistant city manager, city clerk, finance director and the executive assistant to the city manager. The change included a provision to move those employees to a defined contribution system instead of a pension.
But Walleman said, at this time, Woodcox was able to stay in the police and fire pension system, even with his promotion.
City Manager Phil Ludos explained that, even though the issue is “permissive” and didn’t have to be in the deputy chief’s contract, the pension provision was currently in the deputy chief contract and “the collective bargaining agreement protects that position.”
However, he said, “We are not obligated to bargain that in July.”
Ludos said Woodcox was made aware that with the next contract in July 2014, his new benefit package would potentially be moved to a defined contribution plan instead of a defined benefit, or pension, plan.
“The city’s intent is to take that out of the contract and … to move him to a defined benefit plan,” Ludos said.
He said he was happy to see the position filled, however, since St. Clair Shores has been without a deputy police chief almost the entire time Ludos has been city manager. Former Deputy Chief Glenn Bowlin retired in September.
“That is a critical position,” Ludos said. “He needs time to gain some tutelage under Walleman.”
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