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McCubbin to be Shepherdsville police chief starting Feb. 1

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By Staff

Former Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin will be chief of the Shepherdsville Police Department effective Feb. 1.

The Shepherdsville City Council voted 6-0 Jan. 10 to confirm Mayor Curtis Hockenberry’s appointment of McCubbin to succeed Chief Doug Puckett, who announced Jan. 9 that he would be retiring at the end of the month.

McCubbin, a former U.S. marshal, headed the Bardstown Police Department for five years until a disagreement with Mayor John Royalty over reorganization of the police force last spring led to his retirement May 31.

“My retirement lasted a bit longer than even I expected,” McCubbin said in a Facebook post, “and though opportunities and offers came my way over the last seven months this was one offer and opportunity that I could not ignore.”

“My passion and calling to continue to serve a profession that is truly my calling outweighs a life of leisure, serving your fellow man and community is first and foremost,” he wrote.

McCubbin was going to begin working as a deputy for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office before he was hired as police chief.

The Shepherdsville Police Department, which has 29 officers, is sometimes cited by Bardstown city officials as one that attracts local officers because of better pay.

For the rest of this month, McCubbin will work with Puckett, who has been Shepherdsville’s chief for more than 42 years. McCubbin commended Puckett for his dedication to the profession.

“I know that I have some big shoes to fill,” he said, but he felt honored to serve.

McCubbin said Friday Shepherdsville is about the same size as Bardstown. So is its police force, and the two are similarly structured. He said the department, however, works about 2,000 more calls a year, which may be in part because of Interstate 65, which runs through Bullitt County, including six miles of it in Shepherdsville.

McCubbin said he will continue living in Louisville.

His fiancée lives in Bardstown, as does his daughter. He also has two sons and two grandsons.

McCubbin, a graduate of the University of Louisville, has a master’s degree in criminal justice from the American Military Institute and is also a graduate of the Southern Police Institute. He began his law enforcement career in 1987 with the old Louisville Police Department, and worked there until 2002, when he was appointed by President George W. Bush as marshal for U.S. Marshal Service’s Western District of Kentucky. He held that post until 2011, when he became Bardstown’s police chief.

He is also an adjunct faculty member of Elizabethtown Community College, where he has taught since 2009. He intends to keep that position.

In March, while McCubbin was on medical leave, recovering from surgery, Royalty restructured the Bardstown Police Department, demoting two officers, Capt. Tom Roby and Lt. Chris Brandon, and promoting two others, McKenzie Mattingly and Brad Gillock, to captain and lieutenant, respectively. Mattingly was acting police chief until Royalty hired Steve Uram as police chief last November.

McCubbin has said the restructuring was done without his knowledge, although Royalty has said he knew.

McCubbin asked Royalty in an email in early April to rescind his March 29 directive restructuring the department until he could talk with him, but Royalty refused and McCubbin announced his retirement.

Roby, who had been about to retire, has sued the city over his demotion.