By Bobbie Poynter, Editor
Barbourville Mayor Darren West announced his choice Monday for the next Barbourville police chief.
Applying for the position were officers Steve Owens, Winston Tye, Randy Clark and Jake Knuckles.
“It was an incredibly hard decision to choose between all the great applicants,” said West. “However, one officer stood out as having the foresight of engaging the community through a show of police presence in and around the schools, as well as the community. I want our children to grow up not only safe, but with a positive outlook and show of respect for the local police department. I felt like this officer was the best candidate to take the department in that direction.”
Mayor West chose 17-year veteran police officer, Sergeant Winston Tye, to take the reigns from Police Chief Mike Broughton upon his retirement in September.
Tye says he pretty much grew up at the Barbourville police and fire departments, riding his bicycle across the bridge every day from his home at Thompson Park.
“Spending so much of my childhood with the cops and firemen here at the station, there was never any doubt that I would grow up to be a policeman,” said Tye.
Tye gives some of the credit for his promotion to his current chief of police.
“Mike (Broughton) taught me a lot of good leadership skills,” said Tye. “He always said to treat people good, and do your job. If you treat the public with respect, you’ll get that respect back.”
The main goal for his department, Tye says, will be to continue to fight the ongoing drug problem in the area. He expects the department to stay proactive and out in the open both in the schools and while patrolling.
“Let the kids and the businesses know we’re out there,” he said.
Tye says he will be there to back his department. That means keeping them supplied with good working equipment. It also means he will look into getting some added money for his department, as his officers have not had a raise in several years.
Born and raised in Barbourville, Tye graduated from Barbourville City School in 1993. Besides being a policeman, Tye is also an 18-year veteran Barbourville fire fighter.
The incoming police chief says his door will always be open to his officers, as well as to anyone in the community. And he plans on being out on the road with his officers, whether it be weekends or at night.
“It’ll be a big undertaking, but I’m ready for it,” said Tye. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Sergeant Tye is the father of three children; Tyler, 20, who is currently a junior at Union College majoring in accounting; Paije, 16, a junior at Barbourville High School; and Dakota, 13, an eighth grader at Barbourville Middle School.