Commonwealth Journal

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June 24, 2013

Nelson named Somerset Police chief


Somerset —

Nelson pleaded with the council to consider a serious restructuring of the SPD pay and classification plan, asking that, no matter what they did, his officers and detectives see the benefits of it. 
“The chief of police is not a good job, and it’s been dirtied up over the years,” Nelson told the council during the April 22 workshop meeting. “If you do away with the assistant chief position you can put me as whatever you want and divide the rest of this money up between my men.” 
Councilors had been reluctant in recent years to approve Nelson as police chief, instead choosing to let him serve as acting police chief. The issue was most recently brought up in July 2012, when, according to an agenda for a city council meeting, Mayor Girdler intended to ask that city councilors approve placing Nelson in the official position of police chief. That plan was scrapped, however, and the issue was not brought up. 
Since former chief David Biggerstaff resigned in 2006, the city has seen a rotating door of those heading the police department, and Nelson has served as Acting Police Chief since 2007. 
“Let the city be proud of you and let’s don’t go backwards, and move forward and treat everybody fair,” Minton said during Monday’s meeting. “That’s all I ask of you and if you don’t, I’ll be right there standing on that, I promise that. I won’t shut up.” 
Nelson is a 1984 graduate of Pulaski County High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Police Administration with a minor in Corrections and Juvenile Justice from Eastern Kentucky University in 1988. He graduated from the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training Basic Academy Class in 1989 and the Criminal Justice Executive Development Class #5 in 2003.
Nelson started his police career in February 1988 as a deputy sheriff under Sheriff Sam Catron while still attending college at Eastern Kentucky University. In May 1990, he started working as a patrolman in SPD’s Patrol Division during the Mayor Smith Vanhook administration and under former chief David Gilbert. In 1997, Nelson was appointed a detective by former mayor Jim Williams, and then in 1999 as the lieutenant in charge of the Criminal Investigation Division by former mayor JP Wiles.

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