Annual Report-Chief's Message

Chief Brandon Barnhill

Welcome from Police Chief Brandon Barnhill

On behalf of our community, welcome to our website.  The men and women of the Paducah Police Department are what make this organization one of the most respected law enforcement agencies in the world, and they are here to serve you.  We strive to provide excellent police service each and every day.  Whether you are raising a family here or simply visiting, we want your experience to be safe, fun and memorable.

Building upon our past successes within community policing, the Paducah Police Department is committed to a geographic-policing philosophy that addresses crime and the fear of crime through a shared relationship between citizens and beat officers in their specific neighborhoods.  This is proactively achieved using proven problem-solving methods and partnerships to elevate the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

We invite you to become involved with your department in order to continue forging a strong cooperative partnership that is built upon mutual trust and respect.  No police department can solve crime or quality of life issues alone.  Effective community/police relationships, communication, and engagement are critical components to our success.

Please take the time to learn more about the PPD’s units and services.  Take advantage of the many opportunities to communicate with us and learn how we can work together.  We look forward to working with you.  There are many opportunities for you to partner with us to make Paducah better! 

Chief Brandon Barnhill

Annual Reports

Each year the Paducah Police Department compiles an Annual Report summarizing the work accomplished by the department and its specialized units.  Among other things, it provides the public an overview of the department, crime reports, community interactions, and history.  It's a tribute to the men and women of the Paducah Police Department and to the City they serve.

2016 Annual Report >>
2015 Annual Report >>
2014 Annual Report >>
2013 Annual Report >>
2012 Annual Report >>
2011 Annual Report >>
2010 Annual Report >>

Message from Chief Barnhill (from 2016 Annual Report)

Today is one of the most challenging times ever for the men and women who don the uniform of a police officer. The profession is a balancing act between enforcement and understanding, misinformation and truth, protection and threat, and heavy criticism and high praise. On any given day, law enforcement officers may receive accolades or attacks, yet the daily task never changes – maintain order within the humanity of which they are a part.

The job may seem overwhelming, and one may wonder why anyone would want to take on such a task during such difficult days. For me, satisfaction comes in aiding the community I love and finding balance within the most important aspect of law enforcement. The focal point must remain on service! The definition of a law enforcement officer is a moving target; but what I do know, with certainty, is that it takes a special, unique person. You hear the words “a calling” in the context of pastors. I truly believe it’s the same for a police officer. You have to have a calling. You have to have a servant’s heart to go out and deal with other people’s problems. Officers are coming to work day in and day out under various conditions, both externally and internally. Within that context, they remain willing to go out and assist; and sometimes that call they answer is on the worst day of another person’s life.

The increased complexity of the job is partially due to a lack of resources to address societal problems. Supply simply does not meet demand. Communities are reliant on law enforcement to deal with these problems absent of other social programs. The burden is larger and stronger than it ever has been and many of these issues are complicated by drugs and mental health influences. The justice system struggles to keep up with the demands of the communities they serve. There are good programs out there and good people running them, but there are too many issues for them to handle them all. It’s a bit of a conundrum we’re in right now. 

As a result, officers are often asked to step into varying roles. Today’s officer is wearing many different hats, some of which they should never have to wear. They are being asked to be social workers, marriage counselors, teachers, and parents in lieu of the parents not doing what they should at home – the weight on and responsibility of those officers is greater than it ever has been.  And in recent years, national attention has turned to those incidents where officers may not have handled situations in the best manner, the results of which are often tragic. A person can get bogged down in listening to what’s being said and what’s being shown. Unfortunately, if they aren’t plugged in to any of our department outreach programs or efforts, they may think a lot of that is happening here in Paducah. We want our community partnerships and relationships to be strong enough that assumptions are not made on either side. 

Within the context of the shifting roles of officers, a national conversation that can often be negative, and the greater need for transparency, the Paducah Police Department instituted and strengthened its ties to the city through multiple programs. In most cases, it’s about bridging the communication gap. When I took the Chief’s job in 2013, I instituted the Chief’s Community Forum. It is simply a roundtable for me and community leaders, people such as pastors and educators, to look at perceptions. “Why does law enforcement do this,” or, “What happened here?” in a particular incident. Once that conversation was being held, we gained a better understanding on both sides, and all parties looked at each other and said, ”Whew! We feel better about what’s going on.” One example is when I presented our use-of-force data to that group. They said, “That’s it? We thought it was much higher than that.” Transparency and communication are key for all law enforcement agencies. 

Other examples of transparency and partnerships are the Citizen’s Police Academy, our Junior Citizen’s Police Academy, and the Explorer program. We do community forums with the Paducah Human Rights Commission, the NAACP, and many churches. We are allies. Our expectation is that we are in this together and we want our community to be a partner in dealing with community problems. We’ve made a lot of progress, and there’s plenty more to be done. Our staff needs more community support and we want our community to get involved with us and be engrained in who we are. We want the community to understand who we are and get to know our people as individuals. I’d rather people know us by first name as opposed to Officer and last name. The character of a Paducah Police Officer is what makes us unique and the region leader in law enforcement.

The Paducah Police Department strives to build the best police force possible. When it comes to hiring, it can be hard to find officers with the right mindset. We do not settle for individuals who are capable of doing the job. We want those individuals with a servant’s heart. We are very selective. Finding the right people for this community is huge to the culture of the agency and the culture of the city. This is about the character of each individual and nothing else.

The result is evident. In spite of the pressures and the balances of the profession, the Paducah Police Department is held in high regard. We are looked to as an example of a proactive, community-oriented force – a force that is made up of individuals who are just as human as the rest of us. Yet we seek to understand our collective humanity and serve it as best as we can.

It is a very difficult job and our officers are just human. They are asked daily to make split-second decisions that could ultimately have an outcome of life or death. That’s a great deal of pressure. It’s hard to find that kind of comparison in the rest of the community. We’re asking them to do a tremendous job, so I ask the community to continue to support them.

Policing continues to be one of the greatest professions ever. And in Paducah, we have a unique bind to our community, and the relationships and partnerships we’ve developed over time continue to be what makes the job great. Thank you, Paducah!!