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Kraeszig hires two assistant police chiefs

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By Randy Patrick

Retirement reform for Kentucky’s police officers has been a boon for Bardstown.

Chief Kimberly Kraeszig, who was hired in September to lead the Bardstown Police Department soon after retiring from Louisville Metro Police, has now hired two former fellow LMPD officers to be her assistant chiefs.

The two have 44 years of combined experience.

Kraeszig was expected to introduce Capts. Joe Seelye and Kevin Thompson at the City Council meeting Tuesday night, which took place six hours after The Kentucky Standard went to press. But both men were on the job Monday at BPD.

Kraeszig said she has been looking for “good talent,” and the recent retirement reforms the state legislature made are beneficial by making it possible for police officers who are retired to go back to work earning a salary but no additional retirement benefits; nor do they have to continue to pay into the retirement system.

“It has opened up the door for very qualified people” who were eligible to retire but not ready to stop working, she said.

Kraeszig is only 46 but is retired from Louisville after 23 years there. Seelye and Thompson also retired within the last six months, Seelye with 21 years of experience, Thompson with 23.

“We have just gotten two highly qualified commanding officers … who are going to take this department to the next level,” Kraeszig said Tuesday.

Thompson and Seelye have quite a bit in common. Both are military veterans, have bachelor’s degrees in organizational leadership from the University of Louisville, have attended administrative officers’ courses at the Southern Police Institute and have varied experience in law enforcement work, including administration.

Joe Seelye

Some Secret Service agents Kraeszig was talking with Friday said they were pleased that she had hired Seelye as one of her assistant chiefs, but they were concerned about the next time they have to do presidential detail in Louisville because Seelye was so good at what he did as commander of LMPD’s traffic bureau, which is responsible for planning high-profile events in the city such as the Kentucky Derby and Oaks races at Churchill Downs, the Pegasus Parade, KFC Yum! Center events — and presidential visits.

Seelye is an Air Force veteran who served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Iraq before joining Louisville’s police in 1996.

In addition to the Southern Police Institute, he also attended the FBI Academy, another executive leadership program for officers.

Seelye was a narcotics detective and was trained in executing high-risk search warrants and cleaning up meth labs.

As a sergeant, he was over one of the forensics units and processed crime scenes. He was also a training instructor.

He retired as a lieutenant and as commander of the traffic bureau, where he was responsible for about 140 sworn and civilian employees.

Kevin Thompson

Thompson is a Kentucky Army National Guard veteran and was part of a military police company. He was hired in 1994 as a patrolman, quickly became a narcotics officer and was a commander of the department’s special weapons and tactics, or SWAT, team.

“Kevin has a lot of experience,” Kraeszig said. “I worked with him throughout my career.”

As a sergeant, he developed a platoon that was in charge of street-level narcotics investigations.

He also commanded the public integrity unit, which is over criminal investigations involving public employees of the city.

After his promotion to major, he was patrol commander of the 3rd Division in the Dixie Highway area and later of the 4th Division, the largest of eight. Both had about 100 sworn officers.

In 2015, Kraeszig put him in charge of Operation Trust, which was responsible for deterring violent crime in areas with high numbers of homicides and robberies. That project was a collaboration with other agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the U.S. Marshals Service.

He retired as a major and commander of the narcotics division.

C.D. Marksbury

It had been the intention of both Kraeszig and Mayor Dick Heaton for Capt. Charles David Marksbury to remain assistant police chief, but he asked to return to part-time. He will be an evidence room technician.

Marksbury, who had served a decade as Bardstown’s police chief before retiring, had been working part-time cataloging evidence when Heaton asked him to step up and be the interim captain or assistant chief after Capt. McKenzie Mattingly resigned, and later to be the assistant chief after Chief Steve Uram was dismissed.

Marksbury, who was still managing the evidence work when he held those interim positions, had first told Heaton when Uram was fired that he wasn’t interested in being chief again, but would like to be assistant chief. But after a few months on the job, said Kraeszig, he changed his mind and decided that he wanted to go back to part-time.

“He’s done a great job,” Kraeszig said of Marksbury. “He has so much institutional knowledge, and really helped … make the transition” go smoothly.

Scott Frank

In addition to the assistant chiefs, Kraeszig has hired a training officer, Scott Frank, who also retired from the Louisville Metro Police Department this summer, after 28 years with that agency.

Kraeszig said he will oversee all of the different training programs, including firearms, driving, and policies and procedures, and will have officers continuously trained.

“The best agencies you see across the state have their own training units or their own training coordinators,” she said, adding that it’s important for police departments to always be up to date on “best practices.”

Close to full

The Police Department is authorized for 27 officers, and has in the past several months had to get by with a shortage, but that’s changing.

Kraeszig said she has two officers who will be graduating from the police academy at Eastern Kentucky University on Dec. 8 and after some in-house training, will be ready to hit the streets.

“We’re very excited about those two,” she said.

And, she said, she is in the process of hiring two more officers who would have to be trained before they’re ready.

“We’re getting close,” she said. “We could be full very quickly.”