Shelbyville’s new man behind the badge

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Danny Goodwin replaces retiring Schutte as police chief

Shelbyville rang in the New Year on Tuesday with a familiar face in a new place, when Mayor Tom Hardesty swore in Danny Goodwin as Shelbyville Police Chief at City Hall.

Goodwin replaces Robert Schutte, who retired Monday after heading up the Shelbyville P.D. for the past 8 years.

Schutte had recommended that Goodwin, his major, be promoted to chief, saying that Goodwin was not only well-respected in the community but had done a good job of serving as his assistant during his entire term as chief.

Hardesty, whose responsibility it is to appoint a new chief, said he agreed with Schutte that Goodwin was the best man for the job.

“He is very experienced, and is very experienced due to his eight years as assistant chief, and most importantly to my mind, he has a lot of good common sense,” he said. “I have the greatest confidence that he will be a great police chief.”

Goodwin, 42, who was raised in the Simpsonville area, has been married for 22 years to Shelley Goodwin, the executive director of the Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce. They have two children, Connor, 14, and Rachel, 12.

He is a member of Centenary United Methodist Church and is vice chair of the Shelby County E-911 board. He has an extensive background in public safety, having spent several years as a paramedic and firefighter in Shelby County before joining the Shelbyville P.D. 15 years ago, serving as assistant chief with the rank of major for the past 8 years.

Goodwin is a 1998 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, where he studied criminal justice and underwent police training.

Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger, who worked with Goodwin years ago at the Shelbyville Fire Department, said he believes that Goodman’s varied experience will serve him well as chief.

“I think Danny is very prepared to take over the reins as police chief,” he said. “He is a very well-rounded individual who is not one dimensional but knows all aspects of public safety, which will be a tremendous benefit for him in his new position. I think the people in the community will be pleasantly surprised because of his personality. He’s very outgoing and he knows almost everybody in the public safety field here in Shelby County, both on the city and the county side, which will make his transition very easy. He’s an asset to the community, there’s no doubt.”

Goodwin said he is proud of the way the department has grown under his and Schutte’s time at the helm, and especially that the department became an accredited police agency in recent years.

“It’s a great thing because it says there is a certain level of performance that’s expected and that we must operate at that level of proficiency,” he said. 

Goodwin said he does have a few goals in mind as chief, including bringing the department up to full strength, as they are still a couple of officers short of a total of 24, including the chief.

 “That’s my number one goal right off the bat, because we are short staffed for our allotted number of police officers,” he said. “I currently have two officers in the police academy, so I need to get them graduated, and others are at different stages in the hiring process, so I’m trying to get back to full staff.”

Goodwin said he also intends to revamp the department’s Citizen Advisory Board.

“I want to get that rejuvenated because they’re kind of a sounding board for the police department, and they [board members] take on projects and help the police department do things, such as our last big project, which was a coat drive,” he said.

“They provide a positive connection between law enforcement and the community. So many times when people have contact with police, it’s not a positive experience. But we’re there to help out the community, and that’s one way that we can do that, with this board.”

Goodwin said his dedication to law enforcement springs from his exposure to it from a very early age and his admiration and respect for those individuals in his family who set that example before him.

“I grew up with members of my family being police officers, and I always looked up to them,” he said.  “I had heard their stories at family gatherings, and I was always excited to hear them.  So I’ve always been involved in some type of public safety, and I  really can’t see myself ever doing anything else.”

How would he describe his time in law enforcement? He chuckled and said, “Law enforcement has been described as ninety percent pure boredom and ten percent sheer terror, and I can say that’s pretty accurate.”

The best thing about police work, Goodwin said, has been the opportunity to help others.

“I feel like I have been able to touch so many people’s lives in a positive way,” he said. “There’s no other feeling like that, when you know you’ve helped someone. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting someone out of a bad situation and getting them back on their feet. Or it may be arresting someone who’s trying to do harm to someone else or even getting the appropriate services to help someone who is down and out, cold and hungry. Police work is not always negative. If it was, I don’t believe you would find anyone who would want to be a police officer.”

Goodwin said he is gratified to be moving up to the helm of the department.

“I was very excited and very honored that Mayor Hardesty is going to give me this opportunity, and I thank him for having the faith in me,” he said. “I am very excited and so is my family. It truly is a pinnacle of my career.”