ELIZABETHTON — A former police chief will soon be ending his law enforcement career, but plans to develop future law enforcement officers.
“There are a lot of motivated and interested young people over there and I think I can help them get started,” Matt Bailey said of his plans for the future.
Bailey stepped down as police chief of Elizabethton on Dec. 30. He continued to work in the department as a shift captain since that time. Bailey said he will leave the department March 27. He plans to begin work as a teacher at Happy Valley High School on April 2, teaching criminal justice.
He said he is starting his teaching career in mid-term because the school’s former law enforcement officer, Sgt. Ken Dugger of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, has moved to the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department.
“He is going to be missed,” said Greg Workman, who succeeded Bailey as chief this year. “He was here for 16 years and he moved up the ranks very fast.
Workman and Bailey were both hired in 1996, Workman said. Bailey filled a vacancy in September and Workman was one of four officers hired under a federal Community Oriented Policing program to fill new positions.
Workman said when Bailey was chief, his door was always open and he was good for the department and the community.
“I know he is going to miss law enforcement, but this was an opportunity he just couldn’t pass up,” Workman said.
It will be a good opportunity for the department as well, Workman said.
“I know he is going to provide us with information on his top students for when it comes time for us to hire new officers,” Workman said. “We will have two feeder programs now.”
The other program Workman was referring to was Elizabethton High School, where former Elizabethton Police Sgt. Kenny Hardin teaches criminal justice. “He is still a reserve officer for us,” Workman said.
Bailey made many improvements and contributions to the department. One of his final successes was to see the Elizabethton Police Department win state accreditation.
Another major effort during his final year as chief was the increase in local funding for the Carter County 911. Bailey served as chairman of the Carter County 911 Board of Directors and held many discussions with city and county governments on the demands from the state for increased funding. He managed to convince both the city to increase funding to $130,394 a year and the county to increase funding to $173,858.