Police Department promotes 11 officers following summer deaths

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 25, 2013 

Eleven Columbus Police officers were promoted during a ceremony Wednesday.

PHOTO BY TIFFANY STEVENS — tstevens@ledger-enquirer.com

At midnight, Lt. Paul Ezell will become the police department's newest captain.

The Police Department announced Ezell's promotion during a ceremony Wednesday morning in which four other officers were also promoted.

Ezell, a 38-year veteran of the department, worked as the director of the 911 Center prior to his promotion. He has previously worked in Patrol Services and Investigative Services.

"It's been a long time coming, buddy," Chief Ricky Boren said during the promotion service. "You represent us extremely well in the eyes of the public, as well as internally."

In the late 1980s, Boren and Ezell worked together as detectives — a relationship which both men recalled fondly during the ceremony.

"(Boren) stuck with me a long way," Ezell said. "I'll do you a good job, Chief. Or, I'll try to."

Ezell's promotion fills the vacancy in Support Services left by the death of Capt. Vince Pasko, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in late August. After working with Pasko for several years, the new position comes as a bittersweet surprise.

"You always want to move up, but you don't want to move up in these situations," he said. "I was in his office earlier this week, and I thought 'I shouldn't be in here. He should be in here.'"

Taking Ezell's position as director of the 911 Center is Sgt. Charles Lee, a 29-year veteran who has worked in Patrol Services and Investigative Services. Lee, whose rank will be elevated to lieutenant effective Saturday, also has ensured the department meets requirements and standards during evaluations for the past few years.

Boren praised Lee's dedication and ingenuity during the ceremony, noting the high recommendations he received from his peers.

"I was told he was a very intelligent man," Boren said, chuckling. "That landed him in the 911 Center."

Also promoted to lieutenant was Sgt. Greg Touchberry, who will lead a robbery and homicide group in Investigative Services. He previously worked with the Narcotic and Vice Division. His promotion will fill the void left by Lt. Lynn Joiner, who passed Friday after retiring from the department about one month before.

On Saturday, Cpl. Casey Conrad of Patrol Services and Cpl. Mike Peyton of the Motor Squad will also be promoted to the rank of sergeant.

During the ceremony six officers also received promotions. Officers Joseph Bridges, Nekiesha Edmondson, Joseph Jackson, Donald Kraus, Maxwell Todd and Robert Yates will all receive the title of corporal.

"This is a starting point to these guys' careers in the department," Boren said. "It all starts with corporal."

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