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owens named new police chief

Tuesday, October 03, 2017 15:48 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

Tom Owens has gone undercover targeting drug dealers and for over the past decade has been a patrol officer on the streets.

When not in uniform, he teaches self-defense techniques as a martial arts instructor and trains bank employees on how to properly respond to a robbery.

Owens on Tuesday was named police chief in LaPorte where he has worked for the past 26-years.

He got his start in law enforcement three-years prior to that in New Carlisle where he grew up.

''It's such an honor. I'm really looking forward to it,'' said Owens.

He replaces Adam Klimczak, who on September 13 announced his resignation after more than five-years as chief.

Klimczak cited plans to retire soon and pursue other career interests following the August departure of Blair Milo who appointed him to the chief's position after she was elected mayor in 2011.

He's staying on the department for now as captain, officials said.

Milo left to become the state's first ever Secretary of Career Connection & Talent.

Mayor Mark Krentz, elected to replace her by the city's 20 republican precinct committee members, said seven people from within the department sought the opening.

He feels enthusiasm and focus shown by Owens on attacking the heroin problem and other criminal activity most troubling here gave him the edge.

''I think he's engaging and I think that stood out in the interview process,'' Krentz said.

City councilman Roger Galloway said he believes Owens will be more effective in areas like attitude, visibility and reaching out to the community.

''They're different personalities altogether,'' said Galloway, who publicly disagreed with Klimczak at times over his handling of the department.

Owens said developing programs to curb drug activity and increasing the number of officers on the force will be among his top priorities.

In 1991, Owens said he worked the streets undercovers to expose drug dealers and from 2000 to 2005 was a detective for LaPorte County Metro Operations now known as the LaPorte County Drug Task Force.

Part of his strategy is to work closely with task force members.

''In working together, we can implement some programs. Some other avenues for reducing it and hopefully make a huge difference in it. That's my goal,'' Owens said.