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New Lexington Police Chief Named

Josh James

Lexington’s new police chief says maintaining and building on community trust will be a top priority for the department under his leadership.

Assistant Chief Mark Barnard was named to the top cop spot during a packed Government Center ceremony Monday morning. A 28-year veteran of the force, Barnard was the unanimous choice of the city’s search committee. In his remarks, he thanked colleagues and family for their support.

"I've spent over half my life at a job that I've always dreamed of doing, a job based on service to others," Barnard told the audience.

As for the biggest challenge facing the department, the newly-minted chief pointed to building community trust.

"You've seen policing through the country right now suffer some tough times," he said, adding the goal should be "gaining that support of our community, investing in our community, and having an open agency that they want to be a part of."

Jason Rothermund, president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Lexington, applauded the selection, saying Barnard will be an effective advocate should the department and the city find themselves at odds over policy, as they did in 2014 over police cruiser rules.

"There are always going to be times when we disagree, but it's how we work through that disagreement," he said. "I think Chief Barnard is going to be a good player in helping us work through situations that may be difficult and bring a fresh perspective."

Barnard officially takes over the reins on January 12. He’s replacing Ronnie Bastin, who was promoted to Public Safety Commissioner earlier this month.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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