Pulaski County Police Department green-lit by the state

911 Director Aaron Ross

The Pulaski County Police Department is official.

County representatives received word last week that the police-department-of-one was given the go-ahead by the state.

What that means is that the Pulaski 911 Center's operation of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database can continue without interruption.

The police department's only employee, Aaron Ross, is better known to most as the director of the 911 Center. Ross said that from the public's point of view, no changes will be obvious.

There will be no arrests, he explained. "No new departments will be showing up at houses," he said, nor will his department be doing any traffic stops.

Rather, the creation of the County Police Force is strictly to comply with FBI's request to have the NCIC database be controlled by a single police force, instead of having many in control.

When explaining the purpose of the change back in October, Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley said, "Because of the sensitive nature of the LINK (Law Enforcement Network of Kentucky) database, the FBI and State Police are requesting that 911 centers be operated by a law enforcement agency."

Ross was chosen to lead the police department due to having graduated from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Training Academy, as well as already being in place at the 911 Center.

In a statement put out by the county, Pulaski Supervisor of the Criminal Justice Information System Marissa Lay said, "This doesn't put a strain on anyone else. It's just easier to do it this way."

Until now, the NCIC database in Pulaski was taken care of by a board consisting of members representing all the local law enforcement departments.

Ross said that board will continue to be used for informational reasons, to help get information out to departments as needed.

Pulaski was not the first to try setting up a county police force, Ross said.

"It's not something we were the first to do, but I know we won't be the last," Ross said.

He said he has taken calls from officials in other counties asking about how they went about setting their system up.

"I'd say in the future, we'll start seeing a lot of other counties doing this."

While the job is primarily administrative, the county does have a badge on order for Ross.

During a January Fiscal Court meeting, it was discussed that more than one badge had been purchased, with one to go to Ross, and Judge Kelley stating that an additional badge was to be displayed in a shadowbox.

That move was questioned by Magistrate Mark Ranshaw, who expressed concern that the second badge might mean the county was considering giving law enforcement privileges to more than one person, perhaps Judge Kelley or Deputy Judge-Executive Dan Price themselves.

In a statement made this week, Price addressed the concern, saying, "As the director of our 911 center and chief of the Pulaski County Police Department, Chief Ross carries a badge. As a sworn officer under Judge Kelley, the badge is not intended for 'traditional' law enforcement, but to underscore that he provides high-quality, professional and effective communications and ensures responder safety, while striving to save lives and protect property."

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