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By JOSHUA COFFMAN
RADCLIFF — Veteran police officer Lt. Col. Jeff Cross, the current deputy chief, will become the city’s newest police chief effective Sept. 1.
He takes over for Chief Donald Bloodworth who is to retire Sept. 30, though his last day working in the post comes at the end of this month.
Council members approved Mayor Sheila Enyart’s nomination in a 5-1 vote, although all council members said they support Cross and expect him to perform well in the position.
Councilman Stan Holmes voted against the nomination not because of the nominee but because the selection process was not opened to all Radcliff police officers.
“I know he’s going to do a fine job,” Holmes said. “It has nothing to do with him.”
Councilwoman Barbara Baker also expressed concern that a committee was not formed to ratify a new police chief, as was done when Bloodworth took the position in November 1998.
Enyart said Jennings Smith, the previous mayor, in what was believed to be and was later proven to be an outgoing term, did so to avoid a perceived political backlash.
Under state law it is within a mayor’s power to make such an appointment to be approved by a city council.
Cross, a Meade County High School graduate who commemorated his 14th year with the department in April, was ecstatic about his new position — though he said it will take a few days for it to fully soak in.
After Monday’s council meeting, fellow officers and council members congratulated and embraced Cross.
“I’m busting at the seams with excitement,” he said.
Enyart said the incoming chief has an established rapport with the community and fellow officers.
Cross said he plans to talk with as many residents and business owners as possible as he takes the department reins.
“We need to get out and meet everybody. … We need to let them know we need their help,” he said.
Cross replaces Bloodworth, who joined the department as a patrolman in 1996 after retiring from a career as a military police officer.
Enyart said the retiring chief gave a stamp of approval for his successor and added that it will be “a natural progression and keep continuity.”
Cross “has impeccable character,” she said. “He is really and truly a very good fit with our community.”
Joshua Coffman can be reached at (270) 505-1740.