HORSE CAVE — Heather Childress is Horse Cave's new interim police chief.
Childress was appointed to the position by Horse Cave Mayor Randall Curry on June 1. She has been with the Horse Cave Police Department since Jan. 1.
“Heather has some qualities that you don't find in every day policing. Number one, she knows the law. She's very thorough and she's very professional. That was something I was looking for in this position being filled,” Curry said, explaining why he chose Childress for the position.
Prior to coming to work for HCPD, Childress worked for the Hart County Sheriff's Office for five years.
She chose to come to HCPD because she said Horse Cave is home.
“I have a lot of family and friends here. It's home,” Childress said.
She has several things she wants to do now that she heads up the police department.
“First thing is I want to gain the trust back of our community, be more accessible to the community, get some programs going with our youth in the community by working with Caverna High School,” Childress said.
She has been working with Wilma Bunnell, who is the youth service coordinator at CHS, about partnering with HCPD on some programs.
“Wilma Bunnell has been excellent. We are actually getting ready to do the Cram the Cruiser program in July. We are going to begin doing the Coffee with a Cop in July, a once-a- month kind of informal come and talk, open forum,” Childress said.
Another program HCPD may partner with CHS in doing is one about Internet safety, she said.
Childress plans to continue work to combat Horse Cave's drug problem.
“We are working closely with other agencies, the Kentucky State Police, the Hart County Sheriff's Office, the Cave City Police Department and surrounding departments to get a handle on everything going on,” she said.
HCPD is also working with the Greater Hardin County Drug Task Force in fighting the battle against drugs in Horse Cave.
Childress has been a police officer since 2000.
Originally, she pursued a career as a social worker.
“I figured out real quick that's not the job for me. That's not where my heart was going to lie,” she said.
When she began talking about becoming a police officer, Childress said she had several people to tell her she was too small to be a police officer.
“It was kind of a dare at that point,” she said.
Being a police officer allows Childress an opportunity to have contact with the community and be a part of the community.
It also allows her to make a difference and help those in need.
“That was the biggest thing for me,” she said.
Curry said he feels good about Childress being interim police chief.
“I watched her grow over the last four to five years in the sheriff's department. I'm just really excited about her taking this position,” he said. “I told her interim was not going to be on there for very long. She might be small in stature, but I tell you what she's big on everything else that she needs to do. She has my confidence and she has my support 100 percent.”
Curry continued that he told her to “take the ball and run with it” in manning the police department, and that if she needed anything from him to tell him, he said.
The mayor said he tries to be methodical in making personnel decisions.
“Ultimately, all personnel is my responsibility, so I like to put people in place where they can do the job,” he said. “Randall Curry is not a policeman; anything but a policeman. I just feel real confident. I thought about it for six months and I felt now the time is right for her to go for this position.”
Childress said the mayor has been extremely helpful to her since she took on the role as interim police chief.
“He's been very supportive and I couldn't ask for a better situation as far as that is concerned,” Childress said.
Childress replaces former Horse Cave Police Chief David Graves.
“As of right now he has gone back to regular patrol. But there are some other issues and that will come out later. We're not going to talk about it,” Curry said.
Graves was appointed police chief in 2018 and filled a vacancy left by former Police Chief Sean Henry, who was placed on administrative leave without pay, along with Police Officer Chris Trulock, pending the outcome of a federal investigation the FBI is conducting with assistance from the Kentucky State Police involving the police department.
Childress' husband, Jimmy, is also a police officer. He works for Louisville Metro Mounted Police. They have three children: Mason, 20, who is a Marine; Logan, 18, who is joining the Navy in July; and Laynie, 17, who will be attending Union College in the fall on a cheerleading scholarship.
The HCPD consists of six police officers, including Childress. There are four full-time police officers and two part-time police officers.