Alber promoted to Deputy Chief of Police in Copperas Cove
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove Police Department held a private promotion ceremony to recognize the achievements of four officers Friday evening.
Capt. Jeremy Alber was promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief, while Officer James Dudden was promoted to the rank of sergeant and Sgt. Tasha Gerken was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Lt. Krystal Baker was also formally recognized for her promotion to the rank of lieutenant back in April 2020.
“The promotion process is a multi-phased process with the goal of identifying the best qualified officer for advancement,” said Capt. Gabriel Cardona during the ceremony.
The process for promotion includes a written examination, an internal review board and an assessment center which is comprised of representatives from outside law enforcement agencies as well as civilian leaders in the community.
Chief of Police Eddie Wilson read the accomplishments of each officer before the pinning ceremony.
Officer James Dudden was promoted to the rank of sergeant. Dudden has been with the Copperas Cove Police Department since 2002. He was assigned to the patrol division after graduating the police academy and completing the field training program. He received specialized motorcycle training in order to become part of the Traffic Section, which he served in for 10 years. He is one of the CCPD’s longest tenured field training officers and instructors and has been a member of the CCPD Honor Guard team since its inception.
Sgt. Tasha Gerken was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Gerken has been with the Copperas Cove Police Department since 2008 in addition to her service in the military. She was assigned to the patrol division after graduating the police academy and completing the field training program. She was promoted to the rank of sergeant back in 2017 and continued to serve in the patrol division. Her additional duties include Field Training Officer, Honor Guard team leader, and she is the department’s lone certified instructor to teach standardized field sobriety testing procedures to officers, which is a critical component of DWI recognition and enforcement.
Lt. Krystal Baker was promoted to her current rank in April 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was not recognized formally in a promotion ceremony. Baker has been with the CCPD since 2011. She also was assigned to the patrol division after graduating the police academy and completing the field training program. She was selected as a detective with the Criminal Investigations Division in 2014, and she served as a School Resource Officer in 2016. She was promoted to the rank of corporal before the rank was reassigned as sergeant. Currently, Baker serves as a part of the department’s social media team and as a Field Training Officer and certified instructor.
Capt. Jeremy Alber was promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief of Police. The Deputy Chief is an executive level position with the police department and represents the Chief of Police in his absence.
Alber has been with the CCPD since 2000. He served in the patrol division during the early parts of his career and was promoted to the ranks of corporal and then sergeant. He has served in the Organized Crime Unit, Training and Personnel and in SWAT. Alber was promoted to the rank of captain in 2017 and was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division. He is a graduate of the Leadership Command College, which is a program designed to groom executive-level leaders. He is also part of a select few to graduate from the Texas Department of Public Safety Fitness Institute Award and outperformed his entire class to earn the Gladiator Award. He has been instrumental in the development of the CCPD’s physical readiness program, according to Chief of Police Eddie Wilson. He also serves as a tenured instructor who routinely teaches staff in the PD as well as other city departments and serves as the city of Copperas Cove’s assistant Emergency Management Coordinator.
In reading aloud Alber’s accomplishments, Wilson also shared a story that showcased Alber’s determination to succeed in his career.
“Shortly after he was hired, he took it upon himself to go into Chief [Tim] Molnes’ office and let him know that ‘One day, I’m going to have your job,’ and here he is, one step away, 20 years later, so I guess I have one more reason to have to sleep with one eye open,” Wilson said. “I’m looking forward to Jeremy’s continued leadership and just the way he inspires our staff and our officers.”
Wilson added the one of the best parts of growing old in the department is “getting the opportunity to watch officers such as these come in our department, clueless and knowing nothing about law enforcement and growing and eventually promoting to positions that they’re in right now. Watching them grow has been an awesome process, especially for me personally.”
Wilson added that being a police officer is a tough job, especially in the current times.
“It’s especially tough to be a leader among these officers,” Wilson said. “I know that these four are up to the challenge- they’ve more than proven it, and we will continue to test it moving forward.”
Alber said he was relieved that the process for the promotion was finally over but was a bit nervous about what lay ahead.
As Wilson mentioned, Alber had goals for working his way to a high level position within the department.
“After my first promotion, I knew that I wanted to obtain as high a rank as I could possibly get, so it started really early in my career,” Alber said. “I knew that I wanted to be a Copperas Cove police officer, and I knew that I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”
Alber was appreciative of the support of the local community members who came to the ceremony.
“It’s overwhelming, the amount of community support that we have in a time like this in America,” Alber said. “It’s heartwarming. When you spend the last 20 years of your career serving your community, to have the community come back and give just a small bit back to the servants, it means a lot to us.”
Alber was also appreciative of how supportive his family has been throughout his career. His wife, Missy, pinned his badge, while his son, Bailey, and his parents Dennis and Barbara, pinned his rank to his uniform during the ceremony.
As Deputy Chief, Alber will oversee the Support Services Division of the Copperas Cove Police Department.