LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - The mayor of Middletown said Tuesday night that it's time for the city to have its own police department.

Mayor Byron Chapman said recent growth is causing the city of to make the move for the first time in its history.

"Public safety is something we never want to be caught on the short side," Chapman said. "So that's the reason we wanted to start a department."

That department will consist of a chief and two full-time officers, who will work out of city hall. The city has already chosen the chief: retired LMPD officer Ed Blaser.  

"He's an older gentleman with an 'I've been there, done that', and he's the kind of guy we want to be the leader of our community," Chapman said.

Blaser is expected to hit the streets by the end of February, and a full force will be in place by July 1. Chapman said Middletown Police will not replace LMPD, whose eighth division headquarters will remain within blocks of Middletown city hall.  And he said this move is not the result of an outbreak of crime.

"Maybe a couple of break-ins or robberies have increased a little bit. We do have a little bit more activity, more people, but nothing that's saying, 'Oh, things are terrible. We need to have a police department to protect our residents,'" Chapman said. "That's not the case, but we want to do it before that might happen."

The department is expected to cost Middletown around $250,000 a year and $100,000 up front to get things like cars, uniforms and equipment. Chapman said thanks to a big jump in revenues from all of the growth in Middletown, there will be no tax increase.

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