Jeffersontown police chief gets a big promotion

FRANKFORT, KY (Mar. 21, 2016) – Governor Matt Bevin and Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley announced today that Jeffersontown Police Chief Richard W. Sanders will serve as the new Commissioner for Kentucky State Police (KSP).

Sanders appeared on the Rusty Satellite Show in August 2015. Hear the podcast here.

Sanders joins KSP with more than 40 years of experience from federal and local law enforcement agencies. He has held executive leadership positions for the past two decades and was named Kentucky’s Chief of the Year in 2012.

In addition, Maj. William Alexander Payne with Jeffersontown Police will perform the role of Deputy Commissioner under Sanders. He brings more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and police operations, including nearly 19 years with KSP.

Photo by Bill Brymer
Photo by Bill Brymer

Both appointments were recommended by an eight-member search committee comprised of Secretary Tilley, Rep. Robert Benvenuti (R-Lexington), two retired KSP officers, three current KSP officers and a community representative.

“After a long, thoughtful process, we are pleased that Chief Sanders and Major Payne will lead the men and women who make up the ‘Thin Gray Line,’” said Governor Bevin. “We are confident that the KSP tradition of providing excellent protection and service to the Commonwealth will grow even stronger under their direction. I am grateful to all the dedicated servant leaders who participated in this search.”

“I was honored to be part of an historic search committee that interviewed many qualified and impressive candidates,” Secretary Tilley said. “With our final selections, we are confident we have the clear vision and bold leadership to move the state police forward. I very much look forward to working with such well-respected and accomplished law enforcement professionals.”

Rep. Benvenuti, who chaired the committee, praised Governor Bevin and Secretary Tilley for seeking input from the men and women of KSP.

“For the first time in the history of Kentucky State Police, both retired and acting troopers were called upon to play the lead role in recommending the agency’s next Commissioner,” Benvenuti said. “Their deep dedication to fellow troopers was evidenced by their actions during this process. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been part of this important process.”

As head of Jeffersontown Police, Sanders successfully implemented a canine program, streamlined operating procedures and expanded the department’s special investigation unit, which has now seized more than $1.5 million from drug traffickers. His leadership was instrumental in enhancing morale and professionalism within the department after he was named Chief in 2007.

Sanders previously worked 24 years for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. During his final year, he served as assistant administrator for the operational support division at the DEA headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw information technology, investigative technology, forensic sciences and administrative management programs. Prior to that, he worked as special agent in charge for the Chicago Field Division.

Sanders started his career as a cadet with the Jefferson County Police Department. He has a bachelor’s degree in police administration and a master’s in administration of justice from the University of Louisville.

“I am honored to be selected by Governor Bevin and Secretary Tilley to lead such a prestigious law enforcement agency,” Sanders said. “As Commissioner of KSP, I pledge to continue the tradition of public safety with integrity and professionalism while responding to the diverse and unique needs of all communities within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Sanders and Payne received unanimous support from the search committee, which interviewed 17 candidates and submitted a recommendation to Governor Bevin.

Payne currently serves as Patrol Commander and Special Operations Group Commander for Jeffersontown Police. His credentials include expert training in special operations, defensive tactics, firearms and active shooter prevention. Payne has shared those skills as a training instructor for military units and law enforcement agencies across the nation.

Payne served with KSP from 1985 to 2004, starting as a road trooper at Post 9 in Pikeville. He was an original member of the full-time KSP Special Response Team that began in 1989. He last served as a sergeant and staff instructor at the KSP Academy.

“I want to thank the Governor and the Secretary for this appointment,” Payne said. “I am both honored and humbled to be back with the organization that I grew up in. I’m very much looking forward to working with everyone at KSP.”