Former Bardstown Police chief said he was surprised by his termination Thursday

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) --The former chief of the Bardstown Police Department knew there were problems, but he didn't expect to lose his job.

Chief Steve Uram and his wife talked exclusively to WDRB News on Friday, and both said they were shocked and disappointed in what happened.

"They invited me into the room, and as I go in, I'm in there with the city attorney, the HR director and the mayor," Uram said.

Uram said once he saw who was in the room, he figured out what was next.

"Right then and there, you know it's not a good deal," he said. "And it lasted for about five minutes ... He terminated me."

"I couldn't believe it when he walked in the door," said Carolyn Uram, Steve's wife of 47-years.

"I had no inclination that it was about being terminated," Steve Uram said.

Steve Uram's career in law enforcement spans more nearly 40 years with stops in Louisville, Seattle and Afghanistan. After a decorated career on the force and serving his country, he retired in 2006. In November, former mayor John Royalty hired him to lead the troubled Bardstown Police Department.

"I was one of 30-plus applicants, and I came out on top," he said.

In a statement, Mayor Dick Heaton said the change was needed for a number of reasons, including eight recent departures from the police department, but Steve Uram said that was out of his control.

"You have to understand, several of them were looking at other jobs when I got there," he said.

Steve Uram was on the job less than a year, but said he helped update the department's outdated policy and procedure manual, hired new officers from the academy and improved the culture and morale.

"I went out on nights, talked to the guys on night, talked to them on days, made calls with them," he said.

Both Steve and Carolyn Uram knew there could be trouble when city council voted to remove the man who hired him, however, they did not expect the end of his employment to be handled so poorly.

"I thought a man that has been 40 years in law enforcement ... you just don't do that to people," Carolyn Uram said..

"I don't want to go out of my profession with a cloud hanging over my head, but I think I am," Steve Uram said.

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