Discover Madison Kentucky January-February 2021 - Page 12

We Live Here
Eric Scott
four-month program held in Quantico .
“ I learned from some of the best leaders in the nation ,” Scott said . “… I learned ( the leaders ) are just like me . I thought I could be a chief ; I could do this .”
While he was still working with UK , Scott and his family decided to move to Madison County because they wanted a bit more land than they could get in Lexington . When he moved and settled in , Scott ’ s neighbor , who had been an officer himself , told him about an open chief ’ s position at the Berea Police Department ( BPD ).
“ I decided to look into it . I thought , at least if I don ’ t get it , I ’ ll get the experience of going through the process ,” Scott said . He explained he did not have hopes for actually getting the job , as he applied the very last day the application process was open .
The chance was worth it , as Scott was announced as Berea ’ s next police chief in Sept . 2019 .
Scott now has more than a year under his belt as the head of the police department .
When he first started with BPD , Scott knew he wanted to put in some organizational changes and different ideologies .
The police chief said he tries to police differently than “ traditional policing .”
Scott explained a lot of policing deals with breaking up a city into zones with everyone assigned to a specific route or area within the city .
“ What I started to learn is the city has specific needs ,” Scott said . “ Certain areas are riddled with drugs … There are certain areas that have speeders … And our areas with shopping areas are where we deal with a lot of our shoplifting .”
Scott said he started to think holistically on how he could place the BPD units statistically , so they would be able to address specific situations . He called
Chief Scott spent many years as a cop at the University of Kentucky before coming to work for BPD .
this , “ policing on stats .”
Scott added he wanted to change the ideology of policing at BPD . The police chief explained many police departments run somewhat like the military — with hierarchy . However , he said , coming from his sports background , he wanted to change that .
“ I believe in being selfless and people working as a team ,” Scott said . “… I push that we ’ re all the same , certain people just have different job duties … I ’ m not different from you … When we take off the uniform , we ’ re all just men and women . We ’ re all the same .”
Scott explained the BPD was not the only place where changes were made during his first year . He had to learn what it meant to be a chief and be responsible for an entire police station .
Scott said , while working as an officer for UK , he worked his way up to the rank of lieutenant . Back then , he said , he would focus on himself and the officers he was working with . “ I ’ d say we ’ re all going to go home … Treat people right ,” Scott said . But as a chief , Scott said he could not turn off the responsibility . “ I work 365 days , 24 hours a day ,” Scott said . “ No matter what happens , I ’ m responsible …
Whatever happens in the city of Berea , it ’ s all on me .” Scott ’ s first year as chief of police at BPD has not been an easy one . 2020 has brought a slew of issues to the surface . “ I was coming there ( BPD ) and trying to change the culture in a very difficult time in our nation ,” Scott said . The year started off well , Scott recalled . He had made a few steps forward , such as creating
12 Madison Magazine January-February 2021