Jeffersontown's new police chief a familiar face - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jeffersontown's new police chief a familiar face

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jeffersontown's mayor didn't have to look far for a new police chief.

Ken Hatmaker is a longtime J-Town police officer and the new chief.

On the same day he was offered the job, he responded to a call that took him from the police department to a potentially deadly scene.

"He turned toward me and started to pull his shirt up and pull this weapon out," explained Chief Hatmaker.

On Tuesday afternoon, Chief Hatmaker had to make some life and death decisions.

"He did not obey my commands to put the weapon, you know, leave the weapon alone and get on the ground," said Chief Hatmaker.

Chief Hatmaker had not even officially accepted the job when he and fellow officers were confronted by a 17-year-old black male. The teen had what appeared to be an assault raffle at a nearby Taco Bell.

Chief Hatmaker said, "We were able to go hands-on, put him on the ground and disarm him. It was the better choice at the time, we didn't have to use deadly force."

After the suspect was on the ground, police determined the weapon was a BB gun, and discovered he had a history of mental illness.

Chief Hatmaker said, "One of the statements that was made to us was, 'You should have gone ahead and killed me.'"

But instead the suspect was taken to the hospital. J-Town neighbors like Lisa Jolley say it is that kind of policing that makes Hatmaker the right man for the job.

Lisa Jolley said, "He already knows the area, he knows the businesses, the people, he knows what goes on, who lives where, he already knows he area and we all know him."

"He has performed here very well," said Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf.

Mayor Dieruf said Hatmaker was hired from a list of more than a dozen highly qualified applicants.

"We had 13 people apply and the people that applied went from anywhere from Oklahoma to out in the county to officers that were chiefs in other departments that came in."

Chief Hatmaker has nearly 20 years of policing under his belt. He replaces former Chief Rick Sanders, who is now the Kentucky State Police Commissioner.

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