The Yuma Police Department had a permanent chief for the first time in more than three months Monday as Jerry Geier began his first day of work on the force.
"It's all good right now," Geier said. "This is a great place to be, a fantastic organization with a solid, professional reputation and high-quality and professional employees,"
Geier, who has more then 25 years of law enforcement experience, was offered the position in late March and has spent the past month relocating and preparing to take on the new post.
He left his previous position as the director of the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to become the new YPD chief.
"I welcome this opportunity," Geier said. "At the same time, it's a community not without its challenges. We'll continue to do our part in keeping Yuma a safe city that everyone can be proud of."
Much of Geier's first morning in command involved setting up computer accounts, meeting with employees and officers, and attending meetings at City Hall.
"I don't even have a phone number yet," Geier said jokingly. "I also managed to work through lunch on my first day."
Geier said he will spend much of the rest of the afternoon meeting with the media and continue being introduced to staff and employees. He added that his first week he added will focus on orienting himself in the new position.
While he said he doesn't plan to make any drastic changes, Greier said he will be evaluating the department's operations in order to build on its successes.
"In every agency there is room for improvement," Greier said. "Its going to be an evaluation in progress to see how we can improve as an agency and better serve the community."
Some areas of improvement Geier cited as examples were how the department can improve its customer service to the public, its partnerships with various other local, state and federal agencies, as well as improving internal operations.
As the new chief, Geier takes the job left open when Chief Robby Robinson retired in January after 20 years as chief and 37 years on the force.
Capt. Dan Rhodes handled chief duties in the interim following Robinson's retirement in January.
Now as the new chief, Geier takes over a department with 177 sworn officers and 92 civilian employees.
Geier said he expects his transition into assuming command to be very smooth because of the work done by Rhodes and other staff and employees while a chief was being sought.
"I have been able to come in here and not have to run into a mountain of issues," Geier said. "Capt. Rhodes and the staff have done a great job."
In his capacity as director of the state of Florida's Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT), Geier headed a staff of 360 sworn officers and civilian employees responsible for enforcing the laws governing the use of alcoholic beverages and tobacco.
The agency is also responsible for violations in narcotics, gambling and money laundering. ABT is actively involved with community policy, educational campaigns and prevention training in schools and colleges.
Geier also held the position of major and chief of law enforcement with the ABT agency before being appointed Director.
His career path has taken him from the Orange County (Florida) Sheriff's Office, where he spent 17 years and achieved the rank of Captain. From there he held the position of Bureau Chief with the Osceola County (Florida) Sheriff's Office and then on to the position of Major with the Butler County (Ohio) Sheriff's Office.
Geier holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville. He has over 2,000 hours of law enforcement training. One common element in all of his assignments has been leading outreach to the communities he has served and the development of many training courses within his departments as well as the surrounding community.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854.