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SHEPHERDSVILLE - Looking for a new challenge, Danny Thompson couldn’t think of a better one to tackle than to become the new director of the Bullitt County Drug Task Force.
With a small staff, Thompson will lead a team fighting one of the biggest battles in Bullitt County - drugs.
“Ninety percent of all crimes are related to drugs in some way,” said Thompson. “If you’re going to fight crime, you have to fight drugs.”
In replacing Blaine French, who resigned recently after a dispute over a hiring decision by Bullitt Fiscal Court, Thompson said he is very familiar with the work done by the three undercover officers.
“I know how much work they do,” said Thompson. “They are doing a countywide job without a lot of manpower.”
In electing the apply for the position, Thompson said he could have done the easy thing and remain as sheriff Donnie Tinnell’s chief deputy.
When he took that position under the new administration three years ago, Thompson said there were some things he felt needed changing.
With those goals accomplished, Thompson said it was time for a new challenge.
“It is a new challenge and I like challenges,” said Thompson. “I like the undercover work and I know the drug task force does a lot of good work.”
His immediate priority is to regain some confidence in the department.
With the messy resignation and a former administrative assistant who was indicted for allegedly giving out confidential information, the 61-year-old Bullitt County native said there is work to be done.
Luckily, Thompson said people know his reputation of telling it like it is over the past 30 years in law enforcement in the region.
After regaining some confidence in the agency, Thompson said he would like to see more manpower added to the task force.
He admires Tinnell for placing two officers on the task force and Shepherdsville chief Doug Puckett for having an officer.
Thompson said he hopes that Hillview and Mount Washington could supply at least a part-time officer to the agency.
The Kentucky State Police is supplying at least some part-time help to the task force.
“It’s hard to play the game for everybody,” said Thompson. “We’d like a few more cities come forward and play with us.”
There is some indication that Tinnell may add a third deputy to the task force and he is talking with Puckett about possibility getting more help from Shepherdsville.
“There is no shortage of work,” said Thompson.
Even if the other departments can’t provide manpower, Thompson said it is important that the agencies work together and share information. During his time with the sheriff’s department, he said there has always been a good relationship with all the other agencies.
Thompson would also like to utilize the assistance available from other outside agencies, such as a regional group out of Tennessee. That agency could provide things such as surveillance equipment that would not require officers to stake out homes 24/7.
“We get a lot of calls on drugs,” said Thompson. “We just don’t always have the manpower to track them all down immediately.”
Finally, he would like to continue the work started by the first task force director, Kenny Hardin, in working with the school system, the Partners in Prevention and other service organizations.
He said the message about fighting drug abuse must continue and education is a key component. He hoped to be part of community forums and functions in the future.
Thompson, who will assist the sheriff’s department in arson investigations and other crime scene cases on an as-needed basis, is a familiar face in the county.
He started working as a Shepherdsville police officer in 1981 when he couldn’t get a paid position in his first love - fire fighting.
He then went to work for Jefferson County EMS but returned to the county as chief of its police department with the election of Cliff Haley. When Haley’s administration would end, Thompson was hired by Jefferson County Police, where he held a number of positions. He retired four years ago from the merged Louisville Metro Police Department.
During a recent meeting of the Bullitt County Drug Task Force, Thompson got the unanimous recommendation.
Bullitt County Attorney Walter Sholar said that Thompson was an excellent candidate for the position.
He cited Thompson’s years of experience as both a supervisor and an administrator for law enforcement.
Tinnell said he hated to lose Thompson but that he would do an excellent job as the task force director.
“Danny has the personality to do that type of work,” said Tinnell. “He is very capable and will do an excellent job.”