“Don’t worry folks,” Cleburne Police Chief Rob Severance joked as newly promoted Sgt. Michael Peterson’s wife, Tasha, pinned Peterson’s new badge on his uniform. “He’s wearing his vest so he should be safe.”
Severance officially promoted Peterson from officer to sergeant during a short Monday ceremony at Cleburne City Hall that attracted several dozen fellow officers, city staff, family and friends.
Severance promoted three CPD civilian staff members during the same ceremony.
“I also want to thank each of your families for their support of you throughout the years,” Severance said. “I know it hasn’t always been easy.”
Peterson likewise thanked his family and co-workers.
A seven-year veteran of CPD, Peterson began his law enforcement career right out of high school.
“It’s just what I always wanted to do,” Peterson said. “I started with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and it just grew from there. I went through being a jailer and transport officer then decided I wanted to become a peace officer and the rest is history.”
Peterson said he enjoys the opportunity to serve the community and help others out when asked why law enforcement appeals to him.
“And the people I work with,” Peterson said. “The people you work with can make the job or break it. Fortunately, I work with a lot of great people.”
One becomes three
The recent retirement of Connie Taylor, who served as support services manager, made possible the additional three promotions, Severance said.
“When Connie retired we reclassified her position and several positions in a cost neutral reorganization,” Severance said.
Severance promoted Rhonda Dempsey, formerly records clerk, to accreditation and records supervisor.
“I want to thank Chief Severance, Assistant Chief Amy Knoll and Assistant Chief Linn Goodman for choosing me for this position,” Dempsey said. “I hope to make them proud.”
Severance promoted Holly Bicknell and Valerie Hughes, who previously served as telecommunicators, to the position of lead telecommunicators.
Both said they intend to work hard to keep CPD dispatch top notch.
Severance gave Peterson a copy of the U.S. Constitution and gave Dempsey, Bicknell and Hughes copies of the book “Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art Of Persuasion” by George Thompson and Jerry Jenkins.
Severance concluded by once again thanking the four newly promoted.
“You’re all an important part of our team,” Severance said. “We look forward to your contributions and have full faith and confidence in you.”
Attendees afterward visited with and congratulated all four and enjoyed cookies. Several, however, wondered aloud why CPD’s trademark agleam candescent green punch, a tradition and mainstay of such events, was notably absent. No one present seemed to have an explanation.