New KC police chief selected

Maegan Mitchell
Senior Writer

KC has selected a new Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety. Heath Cariker, who comes to KC from Trinity Valley Community College, is scheduled to begin work Tuesday, Oct. 1. Final approval from the board of trustees is still needed and their answer is expected to come during an Oct. 14 meeting.

“I am ecstatic to start my career at Kilgore College. It has a great reputation and an excellent police academy,” Cariker said. “I could not be happier about this. It’s great.”

Before starting his professional career, Cariker graduated from the East Texas Police Academy at KC.

The new KC Chief received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s degree in public administration from UT-Tyler.

Cariker has served as TVCC police chief for the past year and a half. Cariker has held positions such as police sergeant and emergency manager co-director at  UT-Tyler for seven years before serving a short time as assistant chief at San Jacinto College.

In selecting Cariker, KC used an extensive process that began with a screening committee from Texas Public Chiefs Association. TPCA reviewed and ranked all applicants. Cariker ended in the final four candidates for the position.

The committee consisted of Committee Chair College Station Chief of Police Jeff Chaps, Kilgore Chief of Police Todd Hunter, Longview Chief of Police Don Dingler and Bryan Chief of Police Eric Buske.

A search committee from KC then interviewed all four candidates recommended by TPCA’s screening committee. Both committees chose Cariker as the top-ranked candidate.

“We are excited to welcome Chief Cariker as the new Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety. His employment is especially distinctive given that he is an alumni of Kilgore College’s East Texas Police Academy,” said Dr. Mike Jenkins, Vice President of Student Development.

“Chief Cariker brings a wealth of education and experience not only in law enforcement but also in emergency/crisis management in college and university settings.”