Formation of a new police department
MPD Est. Dec, 2017
Founded in 1797 and re-incorporated in 1979, Middletown had never had its own police department. Earlier, it had relied on Jefferson County Police for law enforcement. More recently, as one of 26 cities inside Metro Louisville, it had relied on the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) for most law enforcement duties. In addition, Middletown hired off-duty LMPD officers to patrol its streets, homes and businesses. That this arrangement would no longer be optimal became clear when LMPD reported that it would no longer be able to provide any services during our 2017 annual Family Fun Festival.
Metro Louisville’s rising homicide rate and epidemic of opioid deaths and overdose cases was stretching LMPD thin, with more officers assigned to high crime areas and fewer to areas such as Middletown. At that point in fiscal 2017-18, we decided that the time had come to establish our own police department to both relieve some of the pressure on LMPD and to better provide public safety for our residents. Under the leadership of Mayor J. Byron Chapman, a multi-pronged effort was launched to achieve that goal as quickly as possible.
City Attorney John Singler was tasked with writing a Municipal Order authorizing the formation of ordinances for the creation and operation of a police department, the hiring of a police chief, and provision of initial funding for the department. A seven-member committee was appointed to select a police chief from those applying for the job. After careful consideration of the applicants, the committee chose Edward Blaser to be the first chief of the Middletown Police Department (MPD). Blaser has a Bachelor’s degree in Police Administration from the University of Louisville and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He retired as Associate Chief of Police for LMPD after 26 years of service and then worked in the private sector in security for more than 10 years.
Blaser also completed the Fit Report offered by the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC). That report showed him to be well suited for the job of police chief.
The same committee that selected Blaser to be our police chief was asked to create a logo for MPD. They took the job as a serious challenge and worked through several designs before agreeing on the final excellent logo.
Nearby small cities with police departments were contacted for information. Anchorage Mayor Tom Hewitt shared his experience in operating a police department. Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf did the same, plus gave us two police cruisers his city was in the process of replacing. Older vehicles, yes, but serviceable for a department starting from zero.
Other resources used included the U.S. Department of Justice, which provided Guidelines for Starting and Operating a New Police Department. The Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police publishes Accreditation Program Manual, which we are using for guidance in meeting commonly accepted standards for efficient and effective operations. KLC worked hand-in-hand with us on developing our current Standard Operating Procedures.
An important resource was retired JCPD Sergeant Ron Howard. He was used as a consultant to guide us in putting together all the pieces needed to create a police department. He was invaluable in pointing out all the various items of paperwork needed, how we should fit them together with the other resources available, and keeping us on track to reach our destination.
Initial funding for MPD was provided by the Municipal Order, in the amount of $100,000. Additional funding came about when the city budget was amended to boost that figure to $175,000. A new vehicle was bought for Chief Blaser, adding to the two cars already given by Jeffersontown.
One of Chief Blaser’s first actions was to hire Rob Herman, who we had used as a consultant earlier, as our first police officer. Herman had a 22-year career with LMPD and before that attended Eastern Kentucky University where he studied Fire and Safety Engineering and Police Administration. He worked as a fire fighter/fire inspector/ EMT before beginning his law enforcement career. A native of Middletown, Herman is serving as our Training Coordinator.
Continued community support for MPD came from the Middletown Fire District, which was updating some of its equipment. It donated three Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) units to us for our police cruisers. This equipment allows our officers on patrol to be in communication with LMPD so operations can be coordinated when needed. This advantage became evident almost immediately when MPD and LMPD cars were able to respond within minutes of the report of a home invasion here.
Response from the community was quick and positive. As soon as patrols began and residents began seeing Middletown Police cars on their streets, calls of approval began coming into City Hall. Those attending our regular monthly Commission meetings hear a report from the Chief on the department’s activities during the preceding month. And before the first year ended, we hired two more officers to patrol our city.
In December of 2018, Chief Blaser resigned to spend more time with his family and seamlessly our first officer was promoted to the 2nd Chief for our fine city. Chief Robert Herman continued our growth with a long list of achievements including: becoming accredited by the Kentucky Association of the Chief’s of Police, extending hiring to
We have moved forward carefully in creating our first police department, making sure that all the i’s are dotted, and all the t’s are crossed. We want it done right for the residents and businesses of our city.