Policing has changed a lot since Jeff Littlewood joined the Chatham City Police in 1984, but at its core, it remains the same.
“We’re here to help people,” he said last week after being named Deputy Chief of the Chatham-Kent Police Service. “We have more issues than ever before but as long as we remember that’s what we’re here for, we’ll be OK.”
Chief Gary Conn made the announcement of Littlewood’s promotion from inspector, concluding a 10-week process to fill the position left vacant when Conn replaced Dennis Poole earlier this year.
Littlewood, one of four internal candidates for the job, said he is still driven to excel after 31 years with the service.
“I think I can make a difference. I still have a fire in my belly,” he said.
Conn said the fact that the CKPS had so many strong candidates bodes well for the future of the service and the community.
“We have some very dedicated individuals here,” he said. “The strength of the service is our people and this is a demonstration of that.”
Littlewood began his career as a member of the Chatham city police in 1984 and moved through the ranks as a sergeant, staff sergeant, platoon commander and inspector.
Littlewood is a firm believer in training and has played a key role in bringing an FBI leadership program to St. Clair College this fall.
“It’s important that we continue to invest in our people,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to have the support of many senior officers throughout my career and it’s helped me grow and become a better officer.”
He said police are being challenged as never before on dealing with issues such as mental illness in the community.
“We’re kind of a one stop shop,” he said. “We need more training than ever before because our role is changing.”
Mayor Randy Hope, a police board member, said the service’s “bench strength” is evident in Littlewood’s hiring.
Conn said promoting from within is good for morale and rewards dedication and loyalty.
Littlewood will be formally sworn in as deputy chief sometime in late August or September.