Jeffersontown Police chief tapped to be Kentucky State Police Co - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jeffersontown Police chief tapped to be Kentucky State Police Commissioner

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Rick Sanders (Source: Jeffersontown Police Department) Rick Sanders (Source: Jeffersontown Police Department)
Jeffersontown Police Chief Rick Sanders was named the new commissioner of the Kentucky State Police on Monday. Jeffersontown Police Chief Rick Sanders was named the new commissioner of the Kentucky State Police on Monday.
Major William Alexander Payne Major William Alexander Payne

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After more than 40 years in law enforcement, Jeffersontown Police Chief Rick Sanders is taking on his toughest job yet -- leading Kentucky's State Police force.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin named Sanders the new Kentucky State Police Commissioner on Monday.

Sanders, a Louisville native with a bachelor's degree in police administration and a master's degree in justice administration obtained from the University of Louisville, will start his new job April 1. 

"I'm a fourth generation law enforcement officer," Sanders told WDRB News in an interview Monday. "It's all I've ever known, all I've ever wanted to do, and I'm just not ready to give it up."

His career has included Jefferson County Police, 24 years with the DEA, followed by nine years with J-town police.  As chief, he's started a canine program and expanded the department's special investigation unit, which has now seized one and a half million dollars from drug traffickers.

Sanders says he has two big issues he'd like to tackle as KSP commissioner, one of which is the incredible backlog of cases at the State Police Crime Lab.  

"I want to help get the tools that all KSP employees need in order to do their jobs," Sanders said. "I will be their No. 1 supporter." 

The other goal is turning around the plummet in applications with KSP, adding that added it's a difficult time to be in law enforcement, but he's ready to make it better in Kentucky.

"I remember back in the day, they would have three thousand applicants," Sanders said. "Today, they might have 350 or 400 people apply, because this is just a tough time to be in law enforcement. We've got to change that. And I plan to go from east to west, telling people about the great work the Kentucky State Police is doing."

In addition to Sanders, Maj. William Alexander Payne with Jeffersontown Police was appointed to the role of Deputy Commissioner under Sanders, according to the news release. He brings more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and police operations, including nearly 19 years with KSP.

Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf said replacing Sanders and Payne will not be easy an easy task.

"It is a huge compliment for J-town to have the top two positions at KSP filled by officers from our police department," Dieruf told WDRB News on Monday. "We hate to lose the two officers were are losing, but are excited to see what they will do at the state level."


Dieruf said the position for police chief will post by the end of the day Monday and his goal is to have a replacement recommended to the Jeffersontown City Council by the end of April. Sanders' last day with J-town is March 31.

Below are details from Sanders' biography, obtained from the J-town Police Department website:

Chief Rick Sanders was appointed as the Chief of Police of the Jeffersontown Police Department on February 5, 2007. Mr. Sanders has over 35 years of law enforcement experience, beginning his career in 1971 with the Jefferson County Police Department in Louisville, Kentucky where he served in the patrol, homicide, narcotics, and the aviation sections. In 1983, Mr. Sanders joined the DEA as a special agent within the Louisville, Kentucky Resident Office. 

An accomplished fixed-wing and rotary-wing pilot, Mr. Sanders was assigned to the Miami Field Division in 1988 as a special agent / pilot and provided air support for the division’s enforcement operation. In 1994, Mr. Sanders was promoted to supervisory special agent with the Office of Aviation Support where he oversaw the training, standardization, and proficiency check rides for all 113 DEA aviators to ensure their operational readiness. 

In 1996, Mr. Sanders was transferred to the Louisville, Kentucky Resident Office as the resident agent in charge (RAC). Mr. Sanders was transferred to the DEA headquarters in 2001 and was promoted to the position of special assistant to the administrator where he served two DEA administrators. In 2002, Mr. Sanders was transferred to the Indianapolis, Indiana District Office as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC). 

In 2002, Mr. Sanders was selected to Senior Executive Service (SES) by the U.S. Attorney General and promoted to SAC of the DEA's Chicago Field Division. 

Both appointments were recommended by an eight-member search committee comprised of Secretary Tilley, Rep. Robert Benvenuti (R-Lexington), two retired KSP officers, three current KSP officers and a community representative.

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