Colder Sworn-In As HTGN Police Chief

Colder Sworn-In As HTGN Police Chief

by Shanet Clark

In sunny weather Monday afternoon, over two hundred people attended the swearing in of Karl Colder Sr. as new Chief of the Huntington Police Department.

Long-time HPD detective and new deputy chief Phil Watkins served as M.C. for the swearing in of  Colder as the department's first Black police chief. Joined by his family, friends, pastors, police officers and civic leaders, Colder recapped his career as a regional DEA manager and his memories of mentors in Washington, Chicago and Philadelphia who have helped him prepare for being Huntington's chief of police 

Representatives from the offices of senators Joe Manchin, Senator Shelly Moore Capito and Congresswoman Carol Miller presented the new chief with a West Virginia state flag and various formal commendations, while Mayor Steve Williams thanked the search committee for recruiting Colder. Colder's wife Sherrie, daughter Ashley and son Karl Jr. joined him at the dais, while his other son Cory was "excused" because he is the running backs coach for the Davidson University football team.

In his remarks, Chief Colder thanked a large number of ministers, mentors, law enforcement officers and organizations. He recognized H.P.D. corporal Richard Kern, the president of F.O.P. Gold Star Lodge #65 and pledged to "protect and serve the citizens of Huntington, students of Marshall University and our visitors ... as we claimed in the DEA, we have a tough job and a vital mission, to bring those that violate the law to justice and to protect the citizens of the community we serve."

Colder summarized his philosophy and 33 year career with numerous personal acknowledgements. He thanked his Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brothers from his days at "the oldest historically Black college in the country, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania" and his Prince Hall Masonic lodge brothers. Chief Colder called upon his colleagues in the National Association of Black Narcotics Agents (where he served as President for eight years) to help him recruit "quality leaders, the future leaders of the Huntington Police Department." He addressed the Episcopal Bishop of West Virginia and other ministers in attendance by saying "this will not be our last encounter."

He said, "I am no stranger to Huntington and West Virginia" and stressed his eagerness and ability to engage with state and local law enforcement agencies, specifically the DEA, ATF, FBI, the National Drug Control Policy high intensity drug trafficking squad, West Virginia State Police and the Department of Justice U.S. District Attorneys. Commenting on Mayor Steve Williams's search process, Corder said "there are cities around this country that have decided they would select a police chief without a search committee -- that's trouble. So I'm going to thank the Mayor for having that vision to correctly select a police chief."

Mr. Corder referenced Chief Charles Ramsey, current CNN commentator, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner and head of the  Washington D.C. Metro police. "Chief Ramsey was an expert at calming people down in volatile situations and mending broken trust." He said, "the message I bring is about the importance of people's dignity and self-respect. Police officers, do whatever you have to do, but never take away a person's dignity and self-respect, because sometimes that is all they have left -- and they will fight you to hold on to it. It takes a collective effort on all fronts and we have to stop pointing the finger and come up with solutions."