Spence named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Kempner Police Chief Forrest Spence was recognized on Tuesday evening by Mt. Hiram Lodge No. 595 and received the lodge’s highest award for an officer, the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, at its Respect for the Rule of Law banquet held at Grace united Methodist Church.
The award is given annually from nominations received from the local law enforcement community.
City of Copperas Cove municipal court judge and Justice of the Peace for precinct 1, F. W. “Bill” Price served as the master of ceremonies for the banquet, which also included live a cappella music during the meal.
In addition to the members of the lodge, an assortment of law enforcement personnel from various agencies in the area were on hand to learn the identity of this year’s winner.
The Officer of the Year’s identity wasn’t revealed until the conclusion of the meal, when Price announced the award went to Spence.
Spence has been at the helm of the police department since July 2016 and has been in law enforcement for more than two decades.
Price read about some of Spence’s accomplishments as Kempner’s chief of police.
“Chief Spence has had a profound, immediate impact on the community and on law enforcement throughout the Kempner, Lampasas, and Coryell County area. He has done this by increased city police coverage, from just day shift to coverage now from 3 a.m. four days a week and until 12 a.m. three days a week,” Price said, reading from Spence’s nomination. “Through his ability to maintain and build cohesive teams, Chief Spence has empowered his officers in the field. By doing this, the city of Kempner has seen an arrest rate increase of 10,000 percent. This has proven to make Kempner a beacon of light throughout Central Texas.”
Price cited the improvements Spence has brought to the department, by adding an increase of equipment, such as Glock 19 pistols, patrol riles, and one precision rifle to the arsenal. He also brought in CopSync and each patrol car now has a tablet installed in the vehicles, along with cage in the patrol units.
Spence said a few words after receiving his award.
“I couldn’t accomplish what we’ve accomplished in Kempner, without the guys,” Spence said. “It’s not me, it’s us. That’s how we run things over there.”
He also appreciated the support of the Kempner supportive mayor and city council.
Earlier this month, Spence announced his department’s arrest of 10 individuals after an investigation into illegal narcotics locally, seizing 15 grams of methamphetamine, fentanyl and hydrocodone, three vehicles, one handgun, along with $786 in cash, according to published reports.
Last year’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year went to former Coryell County sheriff, Johnny Burks.