Updated: Kelley new HPD interim chief; city will look outside for permanent chief; Browder, Hastings say parting ‘amicable’ after Browder resigns


By Gary Abernathy - gabernathy@aimmedianetwork.com



Sgt. Shawn Kelley, left, is sworn-in as the new interim chief of the Hillsboro Police Department by mayor Drew Hastings in the mayor’s office early Thursday afternoon.


Updated with comments from Kelley, details on requirements for permanent chief.

Sgt. Shawn Kelley will be the new interim chief of the Hillsboro Police Department after the resignation of Sgt. Steven Browder, and the city will look outside the local ranks for a permanent chief, mayor Drew Hastings said.

In a press release, the city announced that Kelley will take over as interim chief on Friday. Kelley has been with the department full-time since 2008, becoming sergeant in 2015.

Browder began working for HPD in 2000.

“The city thanks Sgt. Browder for assuming the duties of chief since December 2016,” the press release stated.

Browder took on those duties following the resignation of Todd Whited as police chief, after Whited said he could no longer work for the department with Hastings serving as mayor. A month earlier, Hastings had been acquitted of various charges based on evidence Whited had supplied to the Highland County Sheriff’s office in December 2015.

Browder told The Times-Gazette Thursday that he has an opportunity in private business, and his decision to leave is not related to any negative feelings toward the city or the department.

“Everything is good,” said Browder, adding that he wishes the best for Hillsboro and the police department. He said he might return to law enforcement someday. He said for now, he’s looking forward to a more “normal” life.

Hastings said Thursday he wishes Browder the best, agreeing that the sergeant’s decision to leave was “amicable.”

The mayor confirmed that the city will be looking outside the local police department for its next chief. He said no one from within the current ranks applied for the position, based on criteria established by the city’s civil service commission.

Kelley, 41, was sworn-in early Thursday afternoon at the mayor’s office. The 1995 Hillsboro High School graduate said he was looking forward to the challenge.

Kelley, a 2006 police academy graduate, said HPD is made up of “wonderful, hardworking people.”

“I’m humbled and honored to be chosen by Drew for this position,” said Kelley, adding, “I mean that.”

Hastings said Kelley will have a good support system, including Claudette Greene, administrative assistant to the chief. Hastings said Kelley will report directly to Mel McKenzie, the safety and service director, who was on hand for the swearing-in ceremony.

The job description for a permanent chief requires an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree – which the description said is “preferred” — in police science, law enforcement, criminal justice, public administration “or a related field from an accredited college or university.” It also requires five years of full-time law enforcement experience, including two years at a supervisory rank.

The requirements were approved by the Hillsboro Civil Service Commission, which consists of former HPD officer Jon Salyer, chairman, along with local attorney Lynn Turner and businessman Joe Mahan. Salyer is also a human resources specialist.

Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.

Sgt. Shawn Kelley, left, is sworn-in as the new interim chief of the Hillsboro Police Department by mayor Drew Hastings in the mayor’s office early Thursday afternoon.
http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2017/08/web1_kelley-interim-chief-1.jpgSgt. Shawn Kelley, left, is sworn-in as the new interim chief of the Hillsboro Police Department by mayor Drew Hastings in the mayor’s office early Thursday afternoon.

By Gary Abernathy

gabernathy@aimmedianetwork.com