Benton Police Chief Jeromy Hicks recently announced he's retiring at the end of this month and Mayor Rita Dotson announced her selection for appointment, which she will submit for council approval on Sept. 16, is Captain Stephen Sanderson.
"It's not official until the council votes on it but I will present Sanderson as my selection during the upcoming meeting," she said. "He has a perfect record and all the credentials, he's worked closely with Chief Jeromy Hicks to get trained for the job and I think he'll do a good job. He's the all around best for this position."
Dotson referenced KRS 83A.080(3) which assigned appointment power of non elected officers to the executive authority with the approval of the legislative body. She said because Sanderson has served more than a decade with Benton Police Department and meets all qualifications for the post, she sees no reason the council won't approve the appointment.
Sanderson said, "I appreciate Mayor Dotson having the faith in me to lead the department and I'm looking forward to working with her more closely in the years to come. I hate to see Hicks go, he's been a great chief and I'm very grateful to him for encouraging my growth in the department."
Sanderson's career in law enforcement began in Oct. 2005 with the McCracken County Sheriff's Office. In March 2007 he transferred to Benton PD and has climbed the ladder since, serving as sergeant for six years before being promoted to captain in Jan. 2018.
"It's the best decision I ever made career wise," he said. "I love it here--the people are friendly and so supportive of law enforcement. I look forward to continuing to serve the community that's been so good to me."
Sanderson said Hicks has focused his term as chief on updating and improving the equipment so he will be looking for other opportunities for improvement.
"It's not my department--it's the officers' department and I look forward to their thoughts and ideas about how to move forward," he said. "This is an exciting time for the department because with this transition comes the opportunity for other promotions and growth within the department."
Hicks retires after 23 years in law enforcement, 21 of which he's served at Benton PD. He started as a patrolman and worked his way through the ranks until being named interim chief in July 2017 when former Benton Police Chief Tracy Watwood retired and then formally appointed as chief in Aug. 2017.
Dotson said, "Jeromy has done a great job for us the past two years as chief and for many, many years before that. During his tenure as chief he's really upgraded the department in many areas and made the most of the ABC funds, which have been a huge advantage in acquiring equipment for our officers. I'm sorry to see him go but I wish him the very, very best in his retirement that is well deserved."
Hicks said, "I just want to thank the community, my fellow officers and past chiefs, Mayor Dotson and the past mayors as well as the councils both past and present for allowing me the opportunity to do what I love to do. I'm not going anywhere when I retire--Benton is my home and I will continue to call it home. I'll still be active in the community--I have lots to do."