SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s a new era for the Savannah Police Department (SPD). Chief Lenny Gunther sat down with News 3 Monday to discuss how he plans to shape the department.

Chief Gunther plans to roll out new training that focuses on decision-making, communication, de-escalation, and leadership.

“We’re bringing in training called ICAT: Integrating, Communication, Assessment, and Tactics. We’ll roll that out department-wide relatively soon,” says Gunther.

There will also be portions of it that are specifically targeted at working with those who are unarmed and may be suffering from mental health issues.

Gunther emphasizes the importance of communication and making that a priority in his role as chief.

He says it is going to be at the forefront of the new training courses, especially in light of the beating death of Tyre Nichols.

“It reiterated to our staff that although those five officers betrayed the badge and our purpose to protect and serve, that should not deter us from doing a great job day in and day out to build trust in our community, to treat people with respect and dignity, and to respect every person’s sanctity of life, and that coincides with the training and the focus going forward,” he says.

Gunther also touches on the importance of a healthy work environment and how he’s making one by simply by talking to his officers.

“Looking at what we could do immediately, what we need to plan down the road, looking at budget, what we could give back to the officers, making future plans for equipment, and really investing in them internally,” says Gunther, “and I would say that they’ve noticed that, and that morale is getting better.”

As for his main priority as chief, Gunther says it is stopping crime.

“I think prioritizing that comes with different strategy and pillars, whether its leveraging technology using data, community partnerships and relationships, and transparency and accountability using a holistic approach.”

Lenny Gunther assumed the chief role at the SPD permanently on Dec. 29, 2022. Prior to his appointment, he served as interim chief for five months.