Beatty must make police chief hire his No. 1 priority

It has been more than three years since UK had its last permanent police chief, but at least that position’s supervisor is now in place.

Anthany Beatty, the newly hired UK assistant vice president for public safety, began working on Monday. Beatty’s job tasks include overseeing the UK Police Department, Parking and Transportation, Environmental Health, and Safety and Emergency Management.

However, the most pressing task for Beatty and the administration remains to be the hiring of a new police chief, something Beatty cited prior to his arrival.

Finding the new police chief was his first order of business, Beatty said in an Aug. 22 Kernel article; not only that, he also said he wanted to name a new permanent chief before coming to UK.

The hire didn’t happen, but hopefully finding a chief remains Beatty’s top priority.

The importance of naming a permanent police chief is obvious. As Beatty said in the Kernel article, “In a police agency, it’s hierarchical. You need someone appointed to be chief.”

The police chief position has remained vacant for too long. Further delay only creates uncertainty within the department and makes it less effective at providing security for everyone at the university.

While we understand hiring a police chief is a complicated process and Beatty does not have total control over it, we hope he plays a key role in the selection process.

In addition, implementation of the university’s new emergency notification system, UK Alert, is a task that Beatty cannot overlook.

Text-messaging students is an integral component of the UK Alert system, an Aug. 24 Kernel article reported. To make the system work, UK must ensure that a significant percentage of students sign up for it.

Now, as the overseer of UK public safety, it is Beatty’s duty to push for the implementation of UK Alert, which cannot begin soon enough. Then he must start informing students of the system and its significance so they can treat the system seriously and sign up to receive emergency text messages.

Beatty’s experience as the chief of the Lexington Police Department and familiarity with the locale makes him well qualified for his new position. We hope Beatty’s leadership is enough to accomplish some of the long standing tasks he inherits.