Veteran Police Chief Sees Youth Violence as Increasing Challenge

May 22, 2014

Credit Stu Johnson / Weku radio

As Kentucky's law enforcement officers and their families honor those killed in the line of duty, a veteran police chief says the threat is ever-changing.  Officers from across the state, family, and friends gathered at Eastern Kentucky University Wednesday.

This year's memorial ceremony recognized Bardstown state police officer Jason Ellis and McCracken County Sheriff's Deputy Chad Shaw.  Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin says advancements in police response don't lessen the threat of violence day-to-day.  "You know, there's always new challenges and new things that we're facing in the profession that we're in.  We're better trained, we have better equipment.  But, some of the challenges are more difficult than they have been in the past.  They're constantly changing and evolving," said Bastin.

The veteran Kentucky police chief says drug activity today further complicates safety measures taken by responding officers.  Bastin says youth violence is a bigger issue all the time.  "Trends in drug use change and they go to different drugs.  Some drugs there's more violence than associated with others.  You know, we're going through some transitions with different drugs right now," explained Bastin. "Violence in general and especially violence with young people is something that we're seeing more of in Lexington and it's something that raises the risk factor for our officers that are out on the streets." 

Bastin says the annual memorial service at Eastern is an important event for Kentucky's law enforcement community.  He adds that he is grateful there are folks passionate enough about serving their fellow man to put their lives on the line and take those chances. ​