In this age when every news report seems to point to alleged police misconduct, it is important to point out when a community has an overwhelming positive response to anything involving local law enforcement.
Last week’s appointment of Jay Belcher as Gardner’s new chief of police was such a moment.
His appointment was widely lauded by both community leaders and citizens, and we would be remiss not to point out how pleased we too are over Belcher’s elevation.
A 21 year veteran of the force, Belcher has distinguished himself in the community and, together with his colleagues, brought both professionalism and respect to the department.
As a lieutenant and as an administrative and patrol captain, Belcher has been involved in almost every facet of law enforcement including overseeing the investigations division, training, budget management, scheduling and customer service and patrol operations.
On two separate occasions, Belcher answered the call and led the department as interim chief including an eight months stint in 2014 and 2015.
Belcher, who grew up in neighboring Spring Hill, brings to the position not only an intimate knowledge of the community but also an approach to law enforcement that truly defines what community policing is about.
Belcher’s 2appointment comes at a time when the department is taking a new step with the opening of the Justice Center off Moonlight road.
We applaud those who participated in Belcher’s appointment.
As the city grows, the department will undoubtedly face complex law enforcement challenges. With Belcher at the helm, we are confident the department will meet those challenges with professionalism and a community-focused approach. As a community we couldn’t ask for a better candidate, and we urge residents and community leaders to continue giving Belcher and GPD all the support they need to continue serving Gardner.