UPDATE: Family Friend Says Murder of Former Police Chief Was Revenge

By: Lauren Forsythe Email
By: Lauren Forsythe Email


We are told the murder of Herbert Proffitt yesterday afternoon was a case of revenge.

According to City Attorney and the appointed family spokesperson, Reed Moore, Jr., evidence was found on the scene yesterday relating to an arrest many years ago.

He was a man of many titles: sheriff, chief of police and a military officer, but most people in Tompkinsville called Herbert Proffitt, or "Sprocket", a friend.

Several current public officials looked up to him as children.

"He would be directing traffic that would just make my day for him to see me on that bus, you know, and wave at me. I guess that's kind of what got me to wanting to be a police officer," says Tompkinsville Chief of Police Dale Ford.

"He was always a pleasure. Everybody smiled when sprocket walked into the room. He had a knack for being positive. You can't be in public service that long without being nice to everybody," says City Attorney Reed Moore, Jr.

Proffitt's son, Jeff, is the current Mayor of Tompkinsville, and Moore says they're best friends.

"They lost a good man, the community did yesterday," Monroe County Sheriff Roger Barlow says.

A 50-year veteran of Tompkinsville and Monroe County Law Enforcement, "Sprocket" would often run into the same people throughout town, including those he had to put in jail.

"It is my understanding that during that tenure as sheriff that he arrested the defendant that is charged with "sprocket's" murder for a domestic situation, and he wound up in the penitentiary as a result," Moore says.

The early 70's were the first time "Sprocket" arrested Charles Hammer.

Fast-forward 30 years, in 2001, "Sprocket" arrested Hammer again for wanton endangerment and possession of a handgun.

According to Moore, evidence was found on the scene yesterday explaining the murder was revenge.

"When they went to arrest the defendant yesterday after "Sprocket's" murder that he had evidence if not one, but both of the citations, I believe of his personal belongings that they found when they went down there," he says

Hammer was released from those charges and was later arrested in 2002 for harassment and disorderly conduct.

Moore says it wasn't because Hammer wasn't guilty.

"It's a shame though right now with the judicial system and the budget the way it is people will be convicted in trial and the court will have to turn them out because there's no room to keep them incarcerated," Moore says.

Hammer has been charged with murder, and is currently in the Monroe County Jail.

Funeral arrangements for Herbert Proffitt have not been confirmed yet, but we'll keep you updated as the information comes available.

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