Retirement celebration honors Bowling Green police chief

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Bowling Green Police Department said farewell to the chief of 14 years at his retirement party Friday.

Chief Doug Hawkins celebrated his last day at a luncheon with family, friends, coworkers and members of other law enforcement agencies at the SOKY Marketplace.

The luncheon was capped off by a wave parade led by fire fighters and police officers.

Hawkins has served the community for 30 years, 14 of those as chief.

Hawkins announced his retirement several weeks ago. This week the Bowling Green City Commission selected one of his deputy chief’s, Michael Delaney, as his successor.

Retired police officer David Roach recounted one of his first days working with Hawkins.

“We went through the regular questions of everything and we asked Doug, what was his goals within the Bowling Green Police Department and he just flat out told us. He said, ‘I want to be the police chief here someday.’ And, of course, that coming from a very, very new police officer, we thought it was very ambitious of him, but he fooled all of us and he pulled it off,” said Roach.

Now, on his retirement day, Roach said he’s proud of the leader Hawkins became.

“Doug has come so far from the patrol officer that he started out being. Anybody in any professions that stays in as long as he’s done, has earned the right to have the respect of everyone around him,” said Roach.

Hawkins said, this kind of support is what made him so successful.

“This is just another day that they have been there for me. They have supported me throughout my career, both as a police officer and certainly as chief, and I can’t thank them enough,” said Hawkins.

According to incoming Chief Mike Delaney, Hawkins has been an inspiring leader.

“Chief Hawkins has always been a great leader and he’s taught not only me but everyone in the department about leadership and how to treat the community and how to have a servant’s heart for the community,” said Delaney.

There is an opportunity to speak with the new police chief Saturday night during a community meet and greet at 6:30 p.m. at the Garvin House at 221 Fort Webb Drive in Bowling Green.