By Cindy Schroeder
Enquirer staff writer
INDEPENDENCE - The chief of this fast-growing Kenton County city has been named the Kentucky Police Chief of the Year by his peers.
Shawn Butler, 39, was recognized at the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police annual dinner last week in Louisville. The association has about 500 members.
"Chief Butler's work with the Citizens Police Academy and its alumni association is very impressive," said Maysville Police Chief Van Ingram, the association's outgoing president. "The Independence Police Department is very involved in the community."
Independence Police Chief Shawn Butler (left) talks with officer Anthony Hill in the department's patrol office.
(Enquirer photo/PATRICK REDDY)
Independence Mayor Chris Moriconi said he's proud of his city's police chief.
"Shawn works hard, and he's done a lot to bring Community Oriented Policing to Independence," Moriconi said. "He gets the community involved through programs like the Citizens Police Academy. Their alumni association is raising money for the police department. He's also developed a program where volunteers come in and help the police department with paperwork."
Butler has been chief of the 26-member department for four years.
This fall, he will oversee its move into a new municipal complex by Fire Station One off Madison Pike.
Butler joined the department 10 years ago after a nine-year stint with the Kenton County Sheriff's Department.
Last year, the Northern Kentucky Area Development District named Butler Police Chief of the Year. He is the past president of the Northern Kentucky and Kenton County Police Chiefs Associations.
As chief, Butler started one of Northern Kentucky's first Citizens Police Academies in 2000. The eight-week program helps residents understand police officers' jobs and teaches them how to prevent crime in their community.
Through the new Volunteers of Police Service Program, graduates of the Citizens Police Academy help police handle traffic and parking for the (Fourth of July) parade, assist with the child ID program and do data processing so that police can spend more time on the streets, Butler said.
Butler also obtained federal grants to put resource officers in all four schools in the city.
"I really appreciate this honor and I'm thrilled to death, but I couldn't do it without all the good people who work with me, not only the employees and the citizens, but the people in city government who've supported us and allowed us to do our job," Butler said.
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