AUBURN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Auburn Police Chief James Slayton is settling into his new office. He was sworn in as chief just last week, but he joined the force 23 years ago.
“Like most people I got in because I drove by the police station everyday and wondered what went on,” Slayton added, “I did start later on in life. I was 32-years-old when I started.”
Before becoming an officer he worked in a different industry. “I was a truck driver. I worked for a trucking company,” Slayton said.
He takes the reigns from former Chief Shawn Butler, who retired. Slayton served as lieutenant before becoming chief. His goals include to get body cameras for officers, make upgrades to the identification bureau and focus on the relationship between police and the community.
“I want to make sure the officers are getting what they need and I want to make sure the community gets what they need,” he explained, “So trying to find the balance between the two and make sure both parties get what they need and deserve.”
One way the chief plans to address that is with more officers. In the past they were understaffed and the department used billboards to recruit outside the city. Twelve officers were just hired so they have 67 people. Now the department is just one position short of being at full staff.
“If we could get the shifts up to six or seven, then we would have more people to answer the calls and then some left over people to do things in the community – proactive stuff, right now we’re a reactive police department,” Slayton explained.
Chief Slayton said his leadership style is to lead by example.
I’ll be out there. If I’ve got to do traffic, I’ll do traffic. Nothing is beneath me.”Auburn Police Chief James Slayton
He hopes that spirit of community and collaboration will make the City of Auburn the best it can be.
Chief Slayton also served as a school resource officer. Some of his students are now part of the Auburn Police Department.