Clarksville police get 3 new officers, including first African American

Clarksville police get 3 new officers, including first African American

CLARKSVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Thanks to a $250,000 grant, the Clarksville Police Department has hired three new officers, including the first African American to serve on the force.

Judge James Guilfoyle swore in Demetrius Latham, John Smith and Chris Bartley. Officer Latham, 23, is the first African American to stand before the Clarksville Town Council and swear to protect and serve while wearing a police badge.
As a Central High School graduate, Latham said he's eager to serve a community near his hometown. In his late teens, he moved to Clarksville while attending University of Louisville. A former professor was in attendance Monday night, to support Latham and his success.

"He impressed me the moment he walked into my classroom," Criminal Justice Professor Cherie Dawson-Edwards said. "He asked a lot of questions and was also able to connect the dots with his job experience."
Latham said this is a very big step for his city and he's humbled to represent his community.
In addition to Latham, Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer also assisted in the ceremony to swear in Officer John Smith and Officer Chris Bartley.

A $250,000 COPS grant will fund 70 percent of their salary for the next two years, including insurance and uniforms. The department applied for the grant in late July and is the sole recipient in Indiana.
Assistant Chief of Police David Kirby said the grant provides an increase in man power on each shift.

"We have so much retail in the town of Clarksville that we sometimes double in population or even triple during the holidays," Kirby said.
All three officers sworn in Monday night have served in the reserves. They will join two additional new hires at the academy, who were hired as replacements.
"It motivates everybody who has been here a while," Kirby said. "It is great to let these guys have their dream."

During the regular scheduled meeting, Clarksville Fire Chief Tom Upton also announced Michael Blum as a town firefighter and promoted Firefighter Corey Potts.
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