LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — There's a small police department in eastern Jefferson County hoping to make a big impact.
The Middletown Police Department was created to help with the city's growing population.
"It hasn't been done in Jefferson County in a long time, a brand new police department that's never existed," Chief Ed Blaser said.
Blaser hasn't been chief long. He took the job at the beginning of the year and now leads a department of four.
"We're growing. We're having growing pains but we're doing really well with it," Chief Blaser said.
Their numbers may be small now, but they already have a combined 100 years of policing under their belt. All four are retired Louisville Metro Police Officers.
"They are trained, they're familiar with the jail here in Jefferson County and the courts system," Blaser said.
It's a familiar beat for Officer Eric Kemper.
"This was the first area I started patrolling once I was out of the police academy," Kemper said.
Neighbors in the community are supportive of the new police presence.
"We do have a few people who are questioning our existence. I don't blame them. I understand that and welcome the opportunity to help them," Chief Blaser said.
The cost to operate this department is minimal - $250,000 to start. But Chief Blaser says the equipment is top of the line. Middletown works side by side with LMPD, who's patrolled the city from day one. It's also received support from Jeffersontown and Anchorage Police among other departments.
"We depend on them for a lot of our services," the chief said. "When we have a complaint of drug trafficking or someone damaging their property, I can contact the people that have the equipment and can do surveillance. They can get the warrants and eliminate the problem and prosecute the people involved."
The response times are also quicker.
"We're making an attempt to make a difference. I hope our actions and performance will help the community appreciate us and utilize us," the chief said.
Just this week, Officer Kemper was called to a homeless family, living in their car. He was able to make a few phone calls and facilitate living arrangements for the family. The parents recently started new jobs and the children are in school. Kemper says a number of community members helped make it happen.
"I want the image created for this department to be professional and I want people to recognize that we're more than law enforcement, we're here to serve the public and truthfully if we start off that way, I feel we'll be successful here," Blaser said.
Chief Blaser mentioned a number of people have tried calling the department's phone number requesting assistance, but you won't get the quickest response that way. In an emergency, it's always 911. For everything else, Jefferson County residents should call the non-emergency MetroSafe number: 574-2111.