It was standing room only in the community room of the police headquarters.
Support Services Lt. Brian Wyers from the police department thanked family, friends, members of the executive, legislative, and judicial systems from Copperas Cove and surrounding counties, firefighters, and community members who packed the room in the police department on Dec. 29 to witness the new chief of police for Copperas Cove, Eddie Wilson, make his pledge to the community.
The ceremony began with an invocation by Pastor Russ Cochran, reminding those in attendance, “Blessed are the peace makers for they will be called the children of God.”
Jeff Davis, the human resources director, discussed the process by which the selection of the chief of police was selected.
“The (selection) process for the new chief of police was not quick. We started on August the 17th… In order to make the process as competitive and transparent as possible, we used several different panels in the selection process to help make the selection for the best possible candidate for the chief of police for our city. Sixty-one applicants were evaluated by the first panel, which was a separate panel of chief of police from outside the city to look at every single application for our city. Of the 61 applicants, sevenwere chosen to move forward as finalists,” Davis said.
Two of the seven withdrew from the selection process, leaving five remaining candidates, who then went through two separate interview panels, one made up of outside chiefs of police and leading experts in the field of police, and a second internal panel consisting of directors from within the city.
Each panel gave the candidates a pass or fail grade so only those candidates receiving a pass from both panels advanced to the assessment process.
Three people moved forward to the assessment process. Once the assessment process was completed, the data was compiled and presented to City Manager Andrea Gardner, who took about a week to make a decision.
Gardner then took the podium thanking everyone for their support and stating, “Today is about Eddie. I am very pleased to say that while the decision was not easy, Eddie was the successful candidate … and I am very, very pleased to announce and to present to you our next police Chief, Eddie Wilson.”
Flowers were presented to the wife and children of the new chief of police.
“Chief Wilson, outside of this process, the four month process that we have talked about. … He has done a lot to take care of our department. I know that it has taken a lot of time away from his family. We know that as chief now he is going to have more time away from his family so we wanted to apologize with flowers up front,” Wyers said.
While Wilson’s family looked on, Judge Bill Price officially swore in Wilson as the new chief of police.
Wilson’s daughters pinned new stars on his uniform and his wife, Lisa, was the first to hug the new chief.
“I am really a lucky guy. In our profession, luck is something that we consider not always on our side. We even have this thing called Murphy’s Law, whatever can go wrong, usually does go wrong. Maybe my measurement of luck isn’t as high as others, but I consider myself really lucky. I have spent 27 years on the job, and every night for 27 years I have been lucky enough to go home,” Wilson said.
He then thanked his wife. “She has woken up with me, every phone call in the middle of the night. She has been there through the bad times and the good times and she has never wavered. I most definitely would not be here today without her support.
“In our profession, it is unfortunate, but society expects perfection out of officers. Every time we do something, we are in the public eye. We have to be perfect. We can consider that not being very lucky at times, because we are humans. We are not always perfect, but I am lucky to be in a community that understands. If we make a mistake then they forgive us,” Wilson added.
After thanking the city, its workers, and citizens Wilson said, “It has been a tough year, it really has. Most people would consider us having a very unlucky year, but I look at it a little bit differently. We have been lucky in the sense that we have been challenged. It’s been emotional. But we are lucky in the way we have come out of it. We met the challenge and we are moving forward.”