Mayor appoints new police chief to replace Beatty

By Alice Haymond

When Anthany Beatty leaves his post as Lexington police chief to head UK’s department of public safety, Assistant Chief Ronnie J. Bastin will take his place.

Mayor Jim Newberry appointed Bastin, who has worked in the Lexington Division of Police for 23 years, as the new chief of police yesterday. Bastin will take the post Jan. 6, when Beatty leaves the department.

“I feel like this is one of the best agencies in the country,” Bastin said, “I’m happy to get the opportunity to try to fill the shoes Chief Beatty has (filled) over the last six years.”

Bastin currently commands the Bureau of Training and has worked closely with Beatty. Mayor Jim Newberry said those experiences allowed Bastin to become “intimately familiar” with the division of police.

Bastin said his close relationship with Beatty would help connect the UK and Lexington communities and police agencies, adding that improving the relationship between local residents and students is a matter of addressing concerns from all sides.

“It’s a matter of working with people to get to know the issues and understand the issues,” he said.

When Bastin first came to the force, police sometimes assumed what the community needed but didn’t always ask, he said, adding that now there is a strong emphasis on community involvement, which Beatty helped establish. Bastin said he plans to continue that emphasis when he takes over as chief.

“With the talent we have in this department and the supportive community in Lexington, my vision is to make Lexington the safest city of its size in the nation,” Bastin said.

Bastin was chosen by a nine-member committee of city officials and citizens that considered only internal candidates for the police-chief position. Among the three final candidates, Bastin was a clear choice, said Public Safety Commissioner Tim Bennett, the committee chairman.

“The committee was impressed by (Bastin’s) vision of the challenges our police officers will face in the future, and his plans to meet those challenges head-on,” Bennett said.

Bastin’s position is subject to ratification by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council.