Police chief lured away to FCSD
Chief Wayne Kessinger of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept., will, in a way, be changing jobs in law enforcement, but it won’t be inside the HCSD under Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye.
Kessinger was named the new chief of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Dept., effective Jan. 1. He succeeds Ted Heavrin, who retired.
Kessinger has served under Seelye since 2011.
Frank Loop, who won his bid for sheriff in Floyd County in November, approached Kessinger for the chief job and presented some challenges to him.
‘The biggest draw was to come back and try to raise the standards. He offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse,’ Kessinger said.
Seelye said he hates to lose Kessinger.
‘He did a remarkable job and a huge amount of the success that we had here was due to his hard work. He deserves a lot of credit,’ Seelye said. ‘He did us a good job, and I wish him well over there.’
Seelye has not yet named a replacement for Kessinger.
With more than four decades of law enforcement of experience, Kessinger said he’ll do much of the same thing at the FCSD as he did at the HCSD.
‘Basically raising standards on professional levels instead of doing things because we have the power to do them. I’ll be helping introduce professional testing, professional hiring and a new promotional system,’ Kessinger said. ‘Instead of a promotional system that can be perceived as good ol’ boy, it keeps it honest and keeps it credible and puts the department at ease, knowing anyone has ability to advance if they apply themselves.’
Kessinger said Seelye understood his leaving.
‘He and I got along great the four years we were together, and we accomplished a lot. He was 100 percent behind me,’ Kessinger said.
Kessinger said Floyd County offered better benefits, but he also welcomed the challenge of working in his home county and ‘tweaking a pretty good department and making it better.’
‘I thought when I left (Louisville Metro Police Dept.) that it could never be topped. I loved it when I was hired and hated the day I left. But I was lured back into policing and I can honestly say this has been the highlight of my career,’ Kessinger said. ‘We had a department that needed to be turned around, and I think the sheriff and I made a huge impact in that. We raised the standards over the past four years, and it was a great job by our officers to get that done. They bought into the transition. It’s been great working in Harrison County. I like the people there and the officers. They are high quality people.’
Kessinger said he believed it was ‘a shame’ that sheriff’s deputies at HCSD don’t make more money and that the county should expect deputy turnover as the job market and salaries in other locations lure away officers.