Leitchfield Police Officer Jesse Townsend
28-year-old Leitchfield Police Officer and Breckinridge County native Jesse Townsend has only been a part of the Leitchfield Police Department since March 11 of this year, but he said he’s felt like a member of the LPD family from day one.
“I love it here,” Townsend said. “This is probably one of the first jobs I’ve had where I actually enjoy coming into work…The first day I walked in here I didn’t feel like a stranger…There wasn’t any of that, ‘He’s the new guy, let’s keep him quiet here in the corner’ [from the other officers in the department]. No, it was like, ‘Hey, if you’re one of us, come on in.’”
Townsend, who has been a police officer for three years, said the opportunity to learn from and work alongside more experienced officers has made the move to the LPD an enjoyable one, as well.
“If I have any questions, [they’ll say], ‘Call me anytime,’” he said. “The same goes for Kevin [Henderson, Leitchfield Police Chief].”
Prior to joining the LPD, Townsend earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Murray State University, where, during his Junior year, he started working for Murray St. Public Safety with the Murray St. Police Department. After college, Townsend underwent a three-year internship with the Kentucky State Police.
In addition, Townsend worked at the Breckinridge County Detention Center for three years and followed that up with a two-year stint at the Irvington Police Department.
Townsend said he was inspired to become a police officer because as a civilian, he could see crimes happen but couldn’t do anything to prevent them.
“I got tired of sitting on the sidelines, and I always wanted to be able to help somebody out,” he said.
Townsend, who started with the LPD two-and-a-half weeks before Henderson’s first day on the job, said he believes that with the LPD under the leadership of Henderson, citizens can expect to see their city “get extremely better.”
“Since I got here, [the LPD] just keeps going up,” he said. “You get your small towns who are like, ‘Hey, it’s worked this way for the last 30-some-odd-years, let’s keep it this way.’ That’s one of the issues we face. But you get someone who thinks outside the box like Kevin does—it makes a huge difference.”
Townsend went on to say, “Here, we want the community to be [able to say], ‘Hey, we’ve got a police department that cares, that’s going to be there at the drop of a hat.’ And Kevin’s going to lead us that way.”
While he was eager to work for a larger police department, Townsend said his family also played a major role in his decision to make the move to Leitchfield.
“I have a little girl, and she’s my world. When I get home, it’s all cartoons and playtime,” Townsend said of his 5-year-old daughter, Layla Lacefield, who already lived in Grayson County with her mother prior to Townsend’s move and currently attends preschool at Lawler Elementary School.
In terms of where he wants his career to go, Townsend said he is “up for anything” and prefers to take things “one day at a time. When you start thinking too far down the road, you miss what’s happening now.”
And now is a good time to be a part of the LPD, Townsend said.
“This department is on a fast track to being the best in the state,” he said. “Why would I want to leave?”