If you’ve been involved in a block watch or almost any other public-safety oriented meeting in the neighborhood, you probably know or would recognize Lt. John Hayes. He’s been a fixture in the East Precinct command for a long time, most recently serving as Captain McDonagh’s Operations Chief.
Today the PI reports that he’s getting a significant promotion as part of a major citywide overhaul of the police command structure. He’ll be moving into a new position as Director of Community Relations, which will combine community outreach, community police teams, and the public information office that responds to media queries. He’ll report directly to Chief Kerlikowske in his new role.
We’ve talked a lot in recent weeks about how we need to address both the social-service and enforcement aspects of our local crime problems. Lt. Hayes has been a big force behind the recent focus on the former. He created GOTS, initially focusing on the old problems around Deano’s at 22nd & Madison. Having come to police work from a social-service background, he was uniquely positioned to devise alternatives that could help people break out of the endless cycles of addiction and crime.
I spoke to Andrew Taylor who worked a lot with Lt. Hayes on the situation at Deanos, and he said that the Lieutenant was instrumental in getting that area cleaned up. For a long time the leadership of the East Precinct was a revolving door where no one was around long enough to make an impact. Lt. Hayes came into the precinct during that time and provided strong leadership when it was needed most. Andrew also remarked on how good Lt. Hayes was at working with all the various groups in the neighborhood, using his no-nonsense but fair style to help work through racial tensions and friction with the police department.
We’ve attached a clip of video showing Lt. Hayes in action after the Philly’s shooting, encouraging kids in the area to give any information they might have and getting them to think about the situation if it was one of their family members who had been involved in the shooting.
While I’m sure a lot of people hate to see Lt. Hayes leave the East Precinct, the big question is who will come in to fill his very big shoes. Although it’s not official yet, we’ve got a tip on who will be taking over his old role. It’s a name and face that many will recognize – stay tuned for more news next week.
Thanks to CSW for the tip.