TORI J. NORRIS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
There is a new Sheriff in town – well actually, Greenville Police Chief that is. Captain Justin Lovvorn was promoted to Police Chief following the recent retirement of Lonzo Ingram.
“I am very humbled to be appointed Chief,” said Lovvorn. “There were several people involved in the decision including the mayor, city council and the former chief. They made the decision that they wanted to hire from within. After they reviewed everyone’s background and performance, they selected me.”
Chief Lovvorn has definitely moved his way up through the department. He started in dispatch when he was student at Troy University. He then worked the streets marking tires of parked cars, the dog truck picking up strays, patrol and served as Greenville High School’s resource officer. Through his years of investigation work, Lovvorn created the highest rate of closure the police department has ever had for charges such as felonies over the last three years.
During the first week of being appointed Chief, Lovvorn spent little time at the Police Department. “I had to spend most of my time at City Hall for one meeting or another,” said Lovvorn. “I have a new found respect for what Chief Ingram has done all this time. Even though I was a Captain, I did not have a full understanding of how the department runs. I learned how much is done through City Hall and how to make sure I coordinate the budget with the City Clerk.”
One of the first items of business Lovvorn wanted to approach Mayor McLendon about was creating an Assistant Police Chief position.
“We have never had an Assistant Chief position,” said Lovvorn. “It will be a good for movement within the department and it will allow someone who has the ability and capability to move as high as they can. It also can provide an easier transition to Chief.
“Anthony Bargaineer was appointed as Assistant Police Chief. I feel like he is well qualified and works well with the community.”
What has been easy in the transition for Lovvorn is managing the department. “I know the officers and their capabilities. I had a meeting with the whole department that I have known for years but I wanted them to know my personal expectations. I knew they would have questions and would be looking for direction.
“Chief Ingram would tell everyone we had the best police department,” said Lovvorn. “Though I thought we were good, I didn’t quite agree. So in my first meeting, I told the department we have the potential to be the best police department we have ever had here in Greenville.
“We have some of the best people, in general, in the department and they do their job really well. There are some people in the department that are the best officers I have ever met; that is because of the quality training Chief Ingram would get for our officers.”
Lovvorn has had many different ideas for the department since becoming Chief. One of those involves working with our juveniles. “One of our biggest problems is dealing with juveniles,” said Lovvorn. “They just have not been taught the law and what is acceptable and we have a constant problem with the juvenile court process. I would like to have a second chance program to assist the juvenile probation officer.
“This would be involving the police department a lot more on the back end of a charge. We would have the juveniles attend our Special Response Team training, allowing them to make a bond with the officers and have them do community service at the department to allow them to