Five Kilgore Police Department personnel received promotions in a ceremony held at Ronnie D. Moore Public Safety Center Friday.

Sgts. Terry Linder and Trae Portwood were promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Det. Tim Dukes, Inv. Joey Chitwood and Ofc. Amos Owings were promoted to the rank of sergeant.

The meeting was attended by friends and family of the personnel being promoted, as well as city officials. Mayor Ronnie Spradlin, City Council members Victor Boyd and Mike Sechrist and City Manager Josh Selleck were in the audience.

At the beginning of the promotion and badge-pinning ceremony, KPD Chief Todd Hunter said the retirements of Lt. Tony Stone earlier this year and the planned retirement of Asst. Chief Roman Roberson at the end of this year or beginning of next year preceded the promotions.

“These retirements led to the announcement that I will promote Lt. (Johnathan) Gage upon the actual retirement of the assistant chief. That led to two lieutenants’ promotions which led to two sergeants’ promotions and, in all of that, Sgt. Jarod Sears, who had over 20 years of experience, decided he was going to retire and go to Eastman,” Hunter said.

He added the two lieutenants and three sergeants being promoted had completed extensive work in order to receive their promotions.

“Their process began many months ago,” Hunter said, describing how the group submitted resumes and letters of intent at the beginning of the process. They also had to complete a written test after reading three books on leadership. Following the test, a promotional assessment lasting a full day was held for the candidates at the Public Safety Center.

“They did well and represented Kilgore Police Department well. The process, again, was long. It took them a long time. They put a lot into it and they earned the right to be here today,” Hunter said.

Hunter distributed certificates to the men and officially announced their promotions. He asked them to raise their right hands as Gregg County Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Tim Bryan, a former KPD officer, officially swore them in to their new ranks.

“With this promotion, you now have a new responsibility on your shoulders,” Hunter said.

“The new rank doesn’t necessarily make you a leader. The new badge or stripes don’t have any magical powers. Leadership must come from within.”

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