James Heavner, a nine-year member of the Palestine Police Department, was promoted to sergeant Tuesday and tasked with heading up the Criminal Investigations Division.
Assistant Chief Mark Harcrow said Heavner's record, professionalism and most importantly his training made him the obvious choice for the role.
“Detective Sgt. Heavner has worked hard, and risen through the ranks,” Harcrow told the Herald-Press Wednesday. “His skill set is crucial to the agency, as well as policing in the 21st century; he was the obvious choice to lead CID.”
In addition to holding an advanced peace officer's license, and a bachelor's degree from University of Texas at Tyler, Heavner was one of 24 students chosen to attend a US Secret Service-run school on forensic computing in May 2018.
Heavner recently returned from a second Secret Service course, held just outside Birmingham, Alabama, which concentrated on cellular phone technology and how it applies to crime-scene investigation.
Only those chosen by the Secret Service may attend the classes.
A supervisor for five years of his near-decade on the force, Heavner took command of CID immediately after his promotion Tuesday.
“I'm not saying things aren't running smoothly right now – they are,” Heavner said. “However, my goal is to have CID run as efficiently as possible.”
The only peace officer in Anderson County with this level of forensic computer training, and one of very few in East Texas, Heavner told the Herald-Press he will continue to aid other agencies upon request – as long as it doesn't distract from his duties with the city.”
“This is great, not only for Palestine, but for East Texas.,” Chief Andy Harvey told the Herald-Press.
One of the most extensively trained officers in the PPD, Heavner said he is honored by the promotion, and will serve the department, and the residents of Palestine, to the best of his ability.
“I believe you promote when you are ready. Although I intend to continue to move forward with my career, I have much to do and learn where I am at the moment,” he said. “I've made a home here in Palestine, and plan to serve its residents the best I can.”