Whitney City Council selects police chief

Editor: Shannon Cottongame

December 15, 2022

Pictured (l to r) are Mayor Jerry Barker and Kevin Hughes, who was selected by the Whitney City Council to serve as the city’s next police chief in a special meeting held last week. See story for more information.

The Whitney City Council selected Kevin Hughes, a White Bluff resident with a long history in law enforcement, to serve as the city’s next police chief during a special meeting held last week. Hughes is expected to begin in his new position after wrapping up his most recent position as a sergeant and investigator with the Hill County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division.

After interviewing the candidate, the council voted to authorize Mayor Jerry Barker to move forward with hiring Hughes pending necessary pre-employment screenings and background checks. When that process is completed, he is expected to begin his work as chief after the first of the year.

Introducing himself to the council, Hughes described growing up in a rural area near Freeport and then attending Texas A&M University as a member of the Corps Of Cadets. He sustained three gunshot wounds while working at a pizza restaurant, one of the three jobs he was working to save for his next semester of college, which ended his time with the Corps and led to him transferring to Stephen F. Austin State University.

At that college, he met his wife, Stacy, and met recruiters from Richardson Police Department, where he decided to begin his career in law enforcement.

Hughes started out in Richardson as a patrol officer in 1985 and served in numerous law enforcement roles over the years, including criminal investigator, sergeant, lieutenant and captain.

In his final position with Richardson PD as a captain, Hughes served as a Special Operations Division commander, Patrol Operations Division commander and Investigative Operations Division commander.

Through his leadership roles at Richardson PD, a department with 242 employees, Hughes was responsible for developing, implementing, monitoring and administering budgets of the departments he oversaw.

Between the years 2010-2020, Hughes left law enforcement to serve as operations manager for a small Richardson company called Kit Specialties, where he managed the production of 300 to 400 power cords a day and was credited with bringing customer quality reports from 84% to over 99% within one year, achieving 100% on all U.L. inspections, reducing costs and increasing production.

After living part time at White Bluff since 2012, Hughes and his wife moved to White Bluff full time in 2019. He told the council that he had planned to retire at that time, but he quickly began feeling like he had more to give to the field of law enforcement.

In 2020, he reactivated his Master Peace Officer License and began working in the Criminal Investigations Division of the Hill County Sheriff’s Office. In that role, he has investigated everything from property crimes to homicides.

He and his wife have now been married 35 years. The couple had two children, a daughter who passed away at birth, and a son who passed away in a vehicle crash at the age of 21. He explained that this personal tragedy has given him a deeper appreciation for how officers can be responsive to the psychological and mental health needs of victims.

Hughes told the council that he believes it is important for officers to meet with citizens regularly and give the public opportunities to get involved in volunteer programs, like neighborhood crime watches. “You’d be surprised how many citizens want to engage with your police department if you just give them the opportunity,” he said.

Following the interview, the council convened in closed session before resuming open session and voting to allow the mayor to move forward with the process of hiring Hughes.

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