SPD to oversee animal control

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat

New lieutenant position to take on many civilian-led services

The Sherman Police Department announced changes to department hierarchy that will assist in integrating the Sherman Animal Control Department into the PD.

The Sherman Police Department is adjusting its ranks as it prepares to take on new duties with the start of the new fiscal year. A new lieutenant position, which will oversee several civilian-led services including Sherman Animal Control, has been created.

The Sherman City Council has approved adjusting the staffing level of the department as part of a reorganization that has come as the city looks for ways to improve efficiency and service quality in animal control.

Animal control shifted to police oversight earlier this month.

"When we started this process and began looking, we noticed that the support side of our operations could be better structured, especially related to bringing in new personnel and responsibilities," SPD Chief Zachary Flores said, noting the change will save the city $10,000 annually. 

Under the restructure, one of the police sergeant positions will be dissolved and replaced with a newly created lieutenant position, one rank higher.

The move to bring animal control under the umbrella of the police department comes following an assessment of the department's efficiency and other issues, city officials said.

"We did a survey and looked at other cities across Texas and 60 percent of cities have their animal control as a part of their police department —we were in the minority there already," Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said. "That, combined with some of the managerial challenges and with it being so far away from other city facilities, made it where it made sense to bring it under the police department and to reorganize the police department for that."

Strauch said the two departments already have some over lap as many animal control calls also involve some police action or involvement.

"A lot of the calls that animal control takes do have a law and order component to them — things like dangerous animals and things like that," he said. "So, to have it managed within the police department since they are already having to interface with that department a lot."

Strauch said the department currently has no direct plans to increase staffing levels, but this will be assessed over the next few months as the departments adjust to the changes and efficiencies are discovered in the system.

"There will be an adjustment period as they figure out the right mix of employees to be able to ultimately upgrade our services in that department," Strauch said.

"We've put a lot of money into that facility to really bring it up to snuff, when you look at our new adoption room, veterinary facility and things like that. So now, on the personnel side of things, this is about running as tight and efficient of a ship as possible."