By GINA KINSLOW
Glasgow Daily Times
After nearly eight months, Glasgow’s chief of police position has been filled.
Guy J. Turcotte will head up the Glasgow Police Department. The announcement was made Friday afternoon during a press conferrence at Glasgow City Hall.
Turcotte comes to Glasgow from the Florida panhandle where he worked as an auxiliary police officer for the city of Cottondale, which is near Panama City. He has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience, during five of those years he served as police chiefs for various agencies in Florida and Nebraska.
“I’m very happy to be here,” Turcotte said during the press conference.
He chose to apply for the job because he was looking for more of a family-oriented community for his family.
“After meeting your mayor and people here we just fell in love with the place,” he said.
Turcotte is originally from Boston, but has spent most of his law enforcement career in Florida.
Turcotte is no stranger to Kentucky.
“In the ‘70s I lived in Hopkinsville about two cities over,” he said.
One of the first things he would like to do as the city’s new police chief is meet the Glasgow Police Department’s officers and staff, and get their input on what is going on with the agency, he said.
“I’ve been reading the papers and I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff. We are going to move this into a positive image for the police department,” he said. “We’re going to review everything that happens within the agency and if it needs to be changed for the better, we will do that.”
Turcotte fills a vacancy previously held by Horace Johnson, of Scottsville. Johnson resigned in August 2010. Since then Lt. Col. James Duff and Lt. Col. Kent Keen have been serving as interim co-chiefs.
The city received 29 applications from eight states, with a majority of them coming from Kentucky. Of the 29 applicants, only two came from within the Glasgow Police Department.
Mayor Rhonda Trautman would not disclose who from within the department had applied for the job.
“Actually, we have been told we don’t have to tell who they were ... I don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy on that,” she said.
Eight of the 29 applicants were interviewed by the selection committee, which was composed of Trautman, City Attorney Ben Rogers, Councilman Freddie Norris and retired state trooper Tommy Pendleton.
Trautman said the committee looked at candidates from both inside the state as well as outside the state and said where the candidates hailed from had no bearing on the committee’s decision.
The committee chose Turcotte based on his law enforcement experience, specifically his experience in municipal policing and his work with previous small towns, his training and educational background and his personality, she said.
“We think he has the right personality to come in and be welcomed by the department. I think he will work well with the upper leadership [of the police department] and I think he will be a very good, positive force on our younger officers,” Trautman said.
She told the large audience that the committee decided early on to take its time in choosing someone for the job.
“We had a very, very strong list of candidates, and that was what was so difficult,” she said. “So after a lot of work on the committee’s part and discussion, we decided on the candidate that we felt would suit the department at this point and time in our community to help us make our department the best it possibly can be.”
Trautman commended Duff and Keen on the good job they have done running the department as interim co-chiefs.
“They have done an outstanding job. They have been very welcoming of me. They’ve answered every silly question I’ve asked and helped me in this whole process,” she said. “I am happy to have them in the department. We are fortunate to have such strong leadership.”
Among the first to meet Turcotte was Deputy Mike Houchens with the Barren County Sheriff’s Office.
After shaking hands and speaking briefly with him, Houchens said, “He’s a very confident person. It’s good to see that the mayor and the council and the selection committee has made a decision on somebody and it’s a good idea to bring somebody in from the outside and give them a different perspective. The police department is a wonderful department. We look forward to working with him as a department. I believe he will be open to that. I’m just excited for him and hope everything works out for him.”
Keen also met with Turcotte briefly and said his first impression of his new boss is that he seems to be a good listener. Keen said he is eager to learn what direction the department will take under Turcotte’s leadership.
He continued he would like to see Turcotte improve the law enforcement image in the community and continue community support programs.
“Those are programs that yielded a lot of community support and public relations in the community in the past and I feel like he will do that,” Keen said.