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New county police chief announces first promotions

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 17, 2009 - New St. Louis County Police Chief Timothy Fitch, who just took office last week, is already putting his stamp on the department.

Fitch said Tuesday that he has made his first department promotions. The details of the six appointments -- including the names -- were made public Wednesday afternoon.

They are:

-- The promotions of Major Terry Roberds and Captains Kenneth Gregory and Kenneth Cox to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel,;

-- Director Bill Howe to the position of Executive Director;

-- Lieutenants Mary Barton and Jeff Bader to the rank of Captain. 

Fitch, 47, was formally introduced at Tuesday evening's meeting of the St. Louis County Council. With the department since 1983, Fitch took over last Wednesday as the new chief of the county department. He replaces former Chief Jerry Lee, who is retiring Aug. 1.

Lee's departure has been controversial, because it apparently is linked to disagreements with County Executive Charlie Dooley.

Before taking over as chief, Fitch had been a major and head of the department's Operational Support Division.

Fitch said during a brief interview that more promotions and appointments will be forthcoming soon.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.