SAVANNAH, GA (July 13, 2011): Police Chief Willie Lovett continued his reallocation of assets to address the summer crime rate Tuesday by reassigning a second major to the patrol division.


Effective today, Maj. Gerry Long assumes responsibility for Patrol South, consisting of three precincts and three special operations units of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.


Long has been the commander of the SCMPD Criminal Investigations Division since Nov. 29, 2010. Since that time, Major Mark Gerbino has left the department, leaving responsibility for all five patrol precincts and 14 special operations units under Major Julie Tolbert. Today’s transfer balances those responsibilities.


Long assumes command of the West Chatham, Southside and Islands precincts as well as specialized units: Traffic, Special Weapons and Tactics, Bomb Squad and Hostage Negotiation Team. Tolbert continues to command Patrol North, consisting of the Downtown and Central precincts, Special Events/Alcoholic Beverage Control, Extra Duty, Mobile Task Force, Animal Control, Canine, Mounted Patrol, Marine Patrol, Dive Team, Aviation and Honor Guard.


“Clearly, adjustments need to be made to get in front of the perpetrators,” Lovett said. “Major Tolbert was responsible for 70 percent of the department and no one person can manage that many responsibilities. Major Long brings a wealth of experience that we need on the front lines, hopefully to address more of these issues before they occur.”


Previously, Lovett reassigned Capt. Ben Herron from the Islands Precinct where he had been since January to the Central Precinct. Central Precinct Capt. Charles Hall transferred to the Island Precinct after a year in charge of Central. Capt. Kerry Thomas, commander of the West Chatham Precinct since June 2010 and Capt. Richard Zapal, commander of the Southside Precinct since December 2005, swapped commands. Those changes were effective July 3.


Only Downtown Precinct Captain Mike Wilkins maintained his command. He has directed that precinct since August 2009.


Lovett explained that those moves were to put fresh approaches to the control of crimes to address the summertime increases. He said more changes could be forthcoming.

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