Interim GPD chief hits the ground running

“We’re moving forward.”
Any leadership change brings challenges along for the ride, but Kyle Ready’s first week as Interim Gladewater Police Chief was a smooth one.
“Everything seems to be going really well,” he said April 12. “Everybody’s pulling together and getting a lot of things accomplished right now.”
Outgoing GPD Chief Gordon Freeman retired April 8 after five years in the post, and his longtime second in command was subsequently appointed to the task.
“We’re pushing through,” Ready said, taking things one step at a time and business as usual while Gladewater City Manager Charlie Smith lines up the next steps to determine a fulltime successor.
Yes, Ready confirmed, he aims to throw his hat in the ring for a permanent posting.
“I’ve been here for five years in May,” Ready said. “I’ve come to really enjoy working here. I enjoy the people here. This is where I want to finish my career.”
“I have 28 years in my career now, and I plan to at least be here another 10.”
A Marshall High School alum and 1995 graduate of East Texas Police Academy in Kilgore, Ready began his law enforcement career as a non-paid Reserve Patrolman with Marshall Police Department that year. About six months later, he hired on to Carthage Police Department as a Police Officer on patrol before returning to Marshall PD as a Patrol Officer. In addition to work as a Field Training Officer and member of the Special Response Team (SWAT), Ready moved up to Detective Patrolman in 2001, Patrol Sergeant in 2004 then Sergeant Detective in 2009.
Beginning in 2011, he served the Harrison County Criminal District Attorney’s Office as Chief Investigator before joining Gladewater Police Department as Captain in 2019.
Through GPD administration – including helping with budget, human resources, investigations, casework and more – in the past five years, “I’ve been involved in everything,” Ready said, prepping the 49-year-old to move forward immediately: “Everyone is very supportive. They are helping out.”
With Freeman’s retirement and Ready moving into the interim position, the department is currently under-staffed by three spots, but that will soon be just two: a hire is imminent for the open role in the GPD Criminal Investigation Division, leaving one open administrative spot in addition to a patrol shift currently being covered by GPD’s administrative lieutenant.
Ready’s confident the roster will be back up to the ideal level of 20 employees in short order – 12 patrol officers (three per shift on four shifts), a CID investigator, administrative lieutenant, assistant chief and chief plus four School Resource Officers.
“We’re about to be full,” he confirmed, “which is a blessing compared to other agencies,” such as neighboring departments in East Texas that are short as many as a dozen or a score of officers.
“Us being down three compared to them, we’re very fortunate.”
Obviously, the game plan moving forward is still in flux, but Ready does have some key priorities.
“Policy is something that has to be revised every so often because of legislative changes,” he said. “That’s something I’m working with my admin lieutenant and my sergeants. We’re all going to take some policy and get it up to standard.
“Second is equipment. We’ve just ordered some more vehicles. The fleet, when I got here, was in tatters. It’s grown by leaps and bounds. We purchased two older DPS vehicles back in October/November of last year; we’re in the process of getting those rigged out to get those assigned to the sergeants to leave the newer vehicles with the patrol officers.”
Morale is already in good shape at the department, he added.
“All of my guys have pulled together and have been a tremendous help so far,” Ready continued. Everyone’s eager for the next task, getting a new record management system and dispatch software up-and-running, particularly for patrol officers: “They can actually do the reports from the street. That’s a work in progress, but we’re working toward that” following a recent demonstration with Tyler Technologies.
The first week was a busy one, but Ready says he’s ready for more.
“I haven’t had a lot of time to do a lot of reflection on what visions I have for the department,” Ready said, but it’s on the list. First things first, though: “We’re just getting things accomplished and finishing up some projects that we already had in the works.”
– By James Draper

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