What's Next for BG after Retirement Announcement?

By: Courtney Lassiter
By: Courtney Lassiter

On the heels of what Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker called two "bittersweet" departures, skepticism rose with the announcement of Police Chief Bill Waltrip's and Fire Chief Gerry Brown's retirements.
Some in the community thought it was more than ironic the announcements came on the same day.

"Oh! There is no way we had in any way wanted either of those chiefs to leave."
Mayor Walker says it was "just their time." She explains that both chiefs were of retirement age and could choose to draw on their pension or stay on and earn less.

"This is going to be a big loss for Bowling Green."

And she says, despite two administrative proceedings in the last year that led to the replacement of a new city financial officer and a new city manager, Kevin Defebbo agrees.

"He said in all of his career in public office he had never met a finer chief of police."

Results from studies on both departments indicate that too.

"The way that we handle crimes, the way we respond to crimes, the way we communicate with citizens, the level of response is extremely high."

She says that's because Waltrip and Brown were both actively involved in training their staff.
And that's the reason they are looking to hire within the departments.

"Anyone who is an interim ... won't be eligible to apply for a full time position."

There are very specific guidelines The City has to follow in hiring new chiefs.
Just like a resume, they look at competency and work experience.
But, they also have to pass a test.
"The tests are very extensive we have to work in advance with a testing agency. They develop a test specifically for Bowling Green."

Ensuring the city and residents that they'll hire the person who has Bowling Green's best interest at heart.


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