By Alyssa Schnugg
After working as interim police chief for more than 10 months, Jeff McCutchen was officially sworn in Monday to be Oxford’s police chief.
McCutchen was named interim chief when former chief, now-sheriff Joey East announced his intent to run for sheriff in the early part of 2019. East was granted a leave of absence by the Board of Aldermen to pursue that goal, which he obtained by winning the election in November.
About three weeks later, the Board of Aldermen voted to remove the “interim” from McCutchen’s title and promote him to Chief of Police to officially take office at the start of 2020.
Before taking the Oath of Office, led by Municipal Judge Hal Neilson, Mayor Robyn Tannehill spoke of McCutchen’s commitment to Oxford and the Oxford Police Department.
“I think I speak for the entire board when I say how proud we are of you and how you have handled probably one of the hardest years we’ve had on record with grace, with compassion and with wisdom,” Tannehill said to McCutchen. “We’ve learned a lot in the past 10 months. We’ve learned that Jeff McCutchen is a man who makes decisions based upon prayer and lots of consideration. He is a man who deals professionally and fairly with everyone. He’s a man who loves each of you officers like family.”
McCutchen served the police department as Operations Major since 2014 overseeing Patrol, investigations and special event details. Prior to that, he held various positions including supervisor over investigations, patrol officer, DUI officer and SWAT Commander for a combined 17 years of service in law enforcement.
He is a graduate of the 257th class of the FBI National Academy and a 2018 graduate of the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Lafayette Program, receiving the peer-nominated Leadership Award.
His voice cracking with emotion several times, McCutchen thanked his family, the mayor and the Board of Aldermen for their support, his fellow police officers, command staff and East and Maj. Sheridan Maiden for their guidance and friendship.
“To the community, I gotta tell you, I probably won’t get it right every time,” he said. “But I promise you, we will serve you with our heart and we will give you everything we got.”