Bardstown has new police chief

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Kraeszig retired as assistant chief at Louisville Metro

Bardstown’s top lawman will be a woman.

Following a short closed session of the City Council Tuesday night, Mayor Dick Heaton announced that the city’s new chief of police will be Kimberly M. Kraeszig, the recently retired assistant chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department.

A 23-year veteran of that department, Kraeszig rose through the ranks to be the No. 3 administrator, responsible for eight divisions, 950 officers and half of the department’s $180 million budget.

“She is very experienced and well-respected and excited to be coming to Bardstown if you all approve my recommendation,” Heaton said.

The council voted unanimously to approve Kraeszig’s hiring.

Heaton said he would formally introduce her to the public at the council’s next meeting, at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 12.

Kraeszig was one of three finalists selected by a committee Heaton appointed to find a new chief after he fired Chief Steve Uram this summer.

All three, Heaton said, were outstanding candidates.

The mayor announced that Charles David Marksbury, a former police chief who was promoted to interim captain and then interim chief during the search, will be the new captain, or second in command of the Bardstown Police Department.

A new law enacted last year by the General Assembly allows city police officers to return to work after retirement without the city or the employee having to pay toward a second retirement. That was a factor in Kraeszig’s and Marksbury’s decisions to accept administrative positions with Bardstown after retirement.

Councilman Roland Williams, who served on the committee that recommended the finalists, said he was pleased with the choice of Kraeszig.

“It’s unprecedented,” he said. “It takes us in a new direction.”

“I don’t know how many police chiefs in our state are female, but we most certainly have one, and I think she’s going to do an outstanding job … and I’m looking forward to her moving the city forward.”

Heaton said in an interview after the meeting that three of the applicants were retired from Louisville Metro, but none of the others has such an “extensive career.” Her background, he said, included being a patrolman, a narcotics officer and administrator.

“That was the major thing that separated her from the others,” he said.

Heaton said he did his own background check on the three finalists and “the consensus” of the people he spoke with was that “she was the best candidate of the three.”

Not only does she have many years of service in law enforcement, Heaton said, but her father was a policeman for 45 years.

“She grew up in a police family,” he said.

Heaton said that after Marksbury was back in administration for a few months, he told him that he would have an interest in coming back and serving in administration, not as chief, but in some other capacity.

The timing of the law change was good for the Bardstown Police Department, Heaton said, because it enlarges the pool of well-qualified officers without having to pay those officers a second retirement.