Lexington’s police chief is retiring. Mark Barnard has been on the job for three years, but has led the city through events that have captured national headlines.
Since being chosen for the post in 2014 by Mayor Jim Gray, Barnard has presided over a growing police department, which went from 565 to 630 sworn officers. The chief has supported community policing efforts and increased outreach as policing practices have come under fire in recent years.
"We've gone to places we haven't been, liberal arts schools in the past, different businesses, organizations, and showing (that) in this career there's all sorts of things that you can do," Barnard told WUKY at a recent police graduation. " You don't have to be in this uniform and ride around in a car all day, which the perception."
More recently, Barnard helped shepherd the city through a very public debate over two Confederate statues downtown, which attracted the attention of white nationalist groups. So far one have rallied in Lexington.
Mayor Jim Gray said Barnard’s leadership has helped city police excel.
The chief plans to retire, effective January 7th.