Allen’s Exit Has Some Wondering About HPD’s Ability To Recruit Qualified Officers
The sudden department of the chief of the Harrodsburg Police Department has left many wondering why and some worrying about the city’s ability to recruit qualified law enforcement officers in the future.
The mystery began at the Harrodsburg City Commission meeting on Jan. 23. After an executive session, the commission voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Harrodsburg Police Chief Brian Allen effective immediately. Assistant Police Chief Tim Hurt is serving as interim police chief.
“I, Brian Allen, have been asked to resign my position as chief of the Harrodsburg Police Department and, as such, I tender my resignation effective as of end of business on today’s date,” Allen said in the handwritten letter, which was obtained in an open records request.
Asked on Jan. 23 about the reason for Allen’s resignation, City Attorney Norrie Currens said: “No grounds, he just resigned effective immediately.”
Commissioner Marvin “Bubby” Isham, who is serving as mayor pro tem, also declined to discuss Allen’s departure.
“I have nothing bad at all to say about him,” said Isham, who has served as city commissioner for 12 years.
According to city documents, Allen began his career in law enforcement in 2002 and joined the HPD in 2005. In every performance evaluation made available to the Harrodsburg Herald, Allen met or exceeded every category as he rose in the ranks until finally being named chief in 2018.
One person who wants to know why Allen was asked to resign is Jo Lynn Pike, who served with the HPD for 28 years until retiring as a senior records clerk in 2021.
“I was on his interview board,” Pike said Monday. “I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for him.”
Pike retired from the Navy in 2014. She praised the department for standing by her during three deployments and said other officers were also supported during military deployments. Pike praised Allen’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the department was down by as many as seven officers at one point. Pike said Allen had no problem directing traffic or investigating routine calls when the need arose.
“He stepped up to the plate and did what had to be done to make it work,” Pike said.
She also praised Allen’s ability to retain senior officers despite other departments poaching personnel with offers of better pay and benefits.
“For him to keep that police department running with those kind of challenges says a lot,” Pike said.
She wonders how the department is going to recruit qualified personnel in the future after Allen’s dismissal.
“It just makes me so incredibly sad,” Pike said. “He was so good to that department.”
Former Mayor Billy Whitenack, who retired as chief of the Harrodsburg Police Department in 2017, recalled his service with Allen fondly.
“Brian and I worked together for several years,” Whitenack said. “He was the assistant chief when I was there, he was always great to work with and very dependable. We always had a saying that we lead by: always do the right thing for the right reasons and you won’t have anything to worry about. With Brian’s assistance and the entire department, we were able to get the police department accredited. We were able to recruit exceptional officers, and we were very active in the community. I wish Brian the best in whatever endeavors he seeks.”
“I would like to thank him for all his years of dedicated service,” said Former City Commissioner Scott Moseley, who supervised the city’s police and fire departments from 2010 to 2021.
Former Commissioner Adam Johnson also praised Allen’s service.
“I had the privilege of working with Chief Brian Allen for two years as the police commissioner,” Johnson said. “In that time Brian’s leadership over the department was second to none. Brian was respected by everyone in the department, not because he was their boss, but because they knew he put his officers before himself and would always have their best interests at heart with every decision he made. He was selfless and honest and one of the finest chiefs the department has ever had. During our time together we were able to increase officer pay, hire new officers and continue to boost the morale of the department. He was a true leader not only for the department but for the city as a whole. He will be greatly missed at Harrodsburg Police Department.”
Since his termination, the Harrodsburg Herald has reached out several times to Allen for an interview but he has not responded.
The next meeting of the Harrodsburg City Commission will be Monday, Feb. 13, at noon at Harrodsburg City Hall (208 South Main Street).