Public Information Officer Chris Denham began his career with the Elizabethtown Police Department on patrol in 2006.

Since then the 34-year-old has been a field training officer, investigator, a task force officer with the U.S. Secret Service while in investigations and was on the multi-agency highway safety team.

Since May 2017, he has worked as an information officer with the department.

“We’re a liaison between the department and the citizens we serve,” he said of his role.

His job is about representing the rest of the department, he said.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the officers of the Eliza­bethtown Police Depart­ment and the citizens we serve,” he said.

In his role, Denham facilitates educational programs such as the Citizens Police Academy, crime prevention programs and D.A.R.E. programs offered in schools.

Denham said he enjoys going into the schools to give students an opportunity to see what police do so they can paint their own picture of what a police officer is.

“It makes our day,” he said of seeing how kids react in excitement when meeting a police officer.

He said he wants people to see the lighter side of the job, but also communicate why officers do what they do for everyone’s safety.

Serving in most roles in the department gives him an understanding of the department as a whole and he hopes to stay in his current role until he retires.

“The rubber meets the road in patrol, they are the backbone of the police department,” he said, adding investigators see the worst of the worst in their job. “Now I represent them all and try to help citizens be aware of why these guys operate the way they do.”

Denham’s fellow information officer is John Thomas.

“He was my first choice for the position, because I’ve rarely met a person as talented as Chris at one-on-one communication,” Thomas said. “He can shoot the breeze with anyone, anytime, anywhere.”

He added that Denham has a heart for the community and is passionate about policing.

“In spite of our constant good-natured ribbing, I have to admit that he’s a wonderful ambassador for the police department,” Thomas said. “He’s really made a difference in expanding our outreach to the community.”

On a more personal note, Thomas said Denham is one of the most caring people he knows.

“What most motivates Chris as a person is his tremendous heart for people, which is sometimes almost hidden under his jovial and outgoing exterior,” Thomas said.

He gave an example of when Denham’s grandmother was sick. Denham visited her daily and would drop anything to help her.

“I can say that never did a grandmother have a more loving and devoted grandson,” he said. “He would never say so, but he made great sacrifices of time and energy to be at her side during the last months of her life.”

That level of devotion that Thomas said is rare today.

“It was a touching testament to who Chris really is,” he said. “I’m privileged to call him a friend and co-worker.”

In his life outside of police work Denham spends some spare time with a small herd of goats.

Denham said he grew up in the city but always had an interest in farming.

“Goats are fascinating and interesting creatures,” he said. “They each have their own personality.”

He raises Kiko goats, a meat goat from New Zealand. He described them as hearty, wild, self-sufficient and requiring little outside attention.

He has seven and hopes to have around 14 total.

“They are very interesting to watch,” he said.

These goats are picky eaters and don’t eat everything as pop culture suggests, he said adding the males can grow to around 300 pounds.

But they do fit the stereotype of climbing on anything, he said.

“They are thrill seekers,” he said.

When he’s not doing police work or herding goats, Denham enjoys traveling with his wife, Feleshia, whom he said has stuck with him in his crazy police life.

“For that, I am thankful,” he said.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1740 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Becca Owsley is a features reporter at The News-Enterprise.