Lewis County Herald - Serving Hohenwald, Lewis County Tennessee Since 1898

Kevin Carroll appointed Chief of Police after Kip Kelsey resigns from position


March 16, 2023

Kip Kelsey

by Amanda Curtis,

Staff Reporter

Kip Kelsey's career in law enforcement began in 2005 when he was hired on as a Deputy at the Lewis County Sheriff's Department. From midnight shifter and school resource officer to narcotics work and special response teams, Mr. Kelsey's experience over the next 14 years within, first, the Sheriff's Department, and then the City of Hohenwald Police Department, prepared him for his appointment of Chief of Police in 2019.

Community-minded has been Mr. Kelsey's vision from day one, and he has put that to work in each stage of his career. However, it was Kip's passion for combating the narcotics issues in Lewis County that led him to develop a localized program to take to schools. "We were teaching an outdated curriculum with outdated statistics," he said of the decades-old drug program. "It was too generic, in my opinion, to have much of any influence. I have children, so this was personal. If we wanted to reach our youth, we had to find or make a direct, localized path to do that. One that would change as our society changed. One that would stay up-to-date on the latest issues our young people face. One that would show how many people are actually dying, are homeless, are struggling within the walls of our own community. If we wanted to truly combat the narcotics issue, we would need families involved. So, I developed an awareness plan, L.E.A.P. as a hands-on, localized curriculum we could change each year as the issues do." The curriculum is still taught in our school system today and has been given positive feedback from personnel involved at the school due to the ever changing curriculum.

Our young people are not the only ones who have benefited from Mr. Kelsey's giving spirit. "We have several programs at Christmas time for kids, but there wasn't much done for the elderly population of our community. I am proud to be part of the department that started, 'Blue Christmas,' delivering gifts and hot meals to our elders during the holidays. It means a lot to have been able to work with like-minded men and women to serve and shake hands with those who have helped build and shape this great place we call home."

Mr. Kelsey was appointed in 2019 with a vision of community, not only from a member standpoint outside the department walls, but also from a personnel standpoint within them. "The job that has been done here since I have been Chief could not have been done without the hard work from everyone at this department, city hall, dispatch and the community. I've been afforded great opportunity during my time in law enforcement, and It's always been a 'we' mentality. That's why I struggle with this resignation. It would have been easier if something happened, and I could slam the door on the way out, but the men and woman on this department are my best friends and family. However, life is about opportunity, and I believe it is time for me to chase a new journey in life for me and my family."

City Mayor Danny McKnight shares the sentiment. "Chief Kelsey is like a son to me. Therefore, it is with mixed feelings that I have to say farewell to this exceptional individual that has served our community for the past four years as Hohenwald's Police Chief. Kip will be moving on to what we hope will be a more rewarding career for him and his family. Chief Kelsey leaves his position with my blessings and support. God Bless you, Kip. You will be missed."

Judge Mike Hinson agrees, "It has been an honor working beside him. There are people alive today because Kip Kelsey was Chief of Police. Kip is a fair, sometimes tough, but always compassionate person. He put people above everything, and that's how it is supposed to be done. This City and all of Lewis County owes Kip Kelsey a huge debt of gratitude."

"We" was a word used often by Mr. Kelsey when speaking of the work done at the department. "We are a family here," he said. "We operate this department as a family and have been for some time. And, I know that will continue because of our new leader and Chief of Police, Kevin Carroll. He has built a positive relationship between the department and community as well as a very solid work environment for the men and women in this department. He's been right along with me every step of the way, every day, to help lead with our new vision, and there are no doubts that he is right for the job."

Kevin Carroll

"It's a new office, and a new title," says new Chief of Police Kevin Carroll, "but Kip prepared me by including me in everything, always. I appreciate the effort that took and his willingness to do so." Carroll started as Kip's Sergeant before carrying the role of Assistant Chief. "Kip and I are a lot alike and have worked well together in several capacities for years. I am going to keep those same visions we've been working by staying community-minded and focused on service. Kip excelled at communication within the community, and we will continue to keep the community aware and involved with what we are doing to keep them safe. I believe James Howard has a service-oriented reputation in our community, as well as the experience and willingness to carry the vision, which is why I chose him to be the Assistant Chief of Police. Mr. Howard is consistent and dependable. He was an asset in the school system, and he has the respect of the officers within our department. It was an easy choice, and it was the right choice. I look forward to serving our community and the responsibility of leading this department as the City of Hohenwald Chief of Police.


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