Officer Steve Peterson, a 14-year veteran of the St. Helena Police Department, was promoted to sergeant effective June 1.
Peterson joins Interim Police Chief Tim Foley, Lt. Chris Hartley and Sgt. Justin Tharp in the department’s upper ranks. He replaces Sgt. Scott Fleming, who’s retiring this month.
The department has a good mix of experienced cops and hard-working junior officers with a lot of potential, Peterson said.
“The department in the next five to 10 years has a lot of opportunity to grow in a positive direction,” he said. “There’s no drama in the department. Everyone’s doing what they need to do. It’s not dysfunctional like it was years ago.”
Peterson will be in charge of the weekend day shift on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. He will also assume the roles of field training officer (FTO) coordinator and K-9 supervisor, and be responsible for purchasing equipment, providing records to the district attorney, and supervising and mentoring officers.
This will be Peterson’s first stint as a supervisor since his previous career with UPS, where he supervised hundreds of employees.
“It’s not about me anymore – not about me punching in and punching out,” Peterson said. “Now it’s about helping my officers.”
Sergeants are still expected to go out on patrol, but not as much as regular officers, since sergeants already have a lot of paperwork to do without taking on new cases.
“Nothing’s going to change as far as me getting out, still keeping up my relationships with people I’ve known since I’ve been here and forming new relationships,” Peterson said.
He said the hardest thing will be leaving behind the Volunteers In Police Services (VIPS) program he organized in 2017.
The department plans to hire two new officers to replace Peterson and Stephanie Lupien, who’s now a full-time school resource officer.