New Police Chief Lyons once held bass fishing record
Newly-minted Police Chief Eric Lyons loves to hunt and fish in his spare time and even held a local fishing record once.
“I love bass fishing,” said Lyons, Philadelphia’s new police chief.
There is a 12-pound bass mounted on his wall at home he caught at Neshoba Lake in March 2009 that was the record at the time.
“I don’t think that record still stands, but it was then,” he said.
Lyons, named chief of police unanimously on Feb. 23 by the Mayor and Board of Alderman, is not new to Philadelphia or to the police force.
Lyons was born, raised and educated in Philadelphia, having graduated from Philadelphia High School in 2004.
After graduating, Lyons worked a couple of years before deciding to become a police officer and joining the Philadelphia Police Department where he has served for more than 14 years, first as a patrolman and later as a DUI officer and commander.
During his spare time Lyons said he likes to be with his wife Jamie and their six children, Logan, Erica, Candace, Jadalynn, McKenzie and McKinley, at their home in Philadelphia.
Lyons has a pond where he likes to fish. And in addition to fishing, Lyons said he also likes deer hunting and said he took his share of deer this past season but that it was nothing to brag about.
The new chief said other area law enforcement officers have a hunting camp around the House community on 800 acres rented for deer hunting.
For the past couple of months, Lyons served as the interim police chief after Julian Greer retired Jan. 1.
“I know all of the officers personally,” Lyons said of his new role. “I know problems the officers have. The officers want to see change in this department. Being an officer myself, I want to see change. I wanted this job. I have some ideas. I believe can turn this department around administratively and make a difference.”
During his time on the force, Lyons said he worked under four different police chiefs.
“I have seen how different chiefs handled different situations,” Lyons said. “I have seen what has worked and what didn’t work. There are some things we can bring back that I think would improve things.”
Lyons said he thinks the department is in good shape but could use improvement.
“Not that this department is in trouble,” Lyons said. “Policing isn’t what it was 14 years ago. Laws change, technology changes and people change. Over the last few years, the public’s perception of law enforcement has diminished. We want to build back the trust.”
Training is critical, Lyons said, adding he may create a training officer position to ensure officers are aware of and follow the city’s policies and procedures.
He wants to change the perception of the department’s role in the community, and he said that would take time.
“Interacting with the public will become part of our training,” Lyons said. “We will help prepare officers by putting them in different scenarios. That gives them a chance to see themselves in different situations.”
“We are here to protect and serve,” Lyons said. “We will do that in part by working on our customer service. When police interact with the general public, if the officer has a helpful attitude, that can make a lot of difference and have a more positive outcome.”
Most importantly, Lyons said he has to get the department up to full staff.
“We have six openings right now,” Lyons said, out of a 26 officers. “Turnover is always a problem. People leave for different reasons, often for better pay and other reasons. We will get out and try to recruit good, experienced officers.”
Lyons said he is encouraged by the support he has received from his fellow officers,
“They are behind me and supportive,” Lyons said. “Now I am ready to move forward.”