Interim Police Chief Eliot Isaac has a lot of hard work to do to restore a healthy working environment within the department, but the 26-year veteran is easily transitioning into his new role.
When Blackwell was fired, a collective sigh of relief went up from the organization eager and enthused to move on and focus on necessary changes to reduce violent crime.
Isaac hopes those changes will make the Queen City a safer place to live.
“It's the same for any employee when they feel positive, when they feel supported they do a better job," he said.
City Manager Harry Black says a major shift in department’s work environment already is apparent.
“We're already seeing a change in the overall mood of the department. People are feeling relaxed, they're feeling relieved, they're feeling re-energized and we will see more and more of that each day under the new leadership,” Black said.
Flanked by Executive Assistant Chief Dave Bailey and Acting Assistant Chief Doug Wiesman, Isaac started by encouraging the rank and file during roll call at District 1 headquarters in the West End Thursday.
“This is to let you know this is your new command team," he said. "Myself, Colonel Bailey, Captain Wiesman, we look forward to moving things forward."
They plan to meet with other commanders to make sure all officers are placed in the proper slots as the city struggles to reduce shootings, which hit a 10-year high earlier this year. That includes 24 officers whose reassignments begin Sunday.
“The three of us do need immediately to get back to work and restructure," Bailey said. "I mean, it has to start immediately. We have not had a chance to sit down and look at where we go next."
The police union president, Kathy Harrell, says the rank file is eager to follow under Isaac's leadership. The Fraternal Order of Police was scheduled to take a no-confidence vote in Blackwell at their meeting Monday.
That vote now is going to be one of confidence in Isaac.
“He knows what the issues are. He'll work great with the command staff and I believe already moving forward in a very positive direction,” Harrell said.