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City of Oxford names Jeff McCutchen next Chief of Police

Another person in Oxford can remove the interim tag from their job title.

The City of Oxford announced on Tuesday its plans to name Jeff McCutchen as its new Chief of Police. McCutchen has served as the interim police chief since February, replacing Joey East, who took a leave of absence while running for Lafayette County Sheriff.

East won his race earlier this month, leaving the Oxford Police Department in need of a new permanent leader. That decision by the City and Mayor Robyn Tannehill comes after McCutchen met with the Board of Aldermen during an executive session portion of Monday’s recessed meeting.

“Interim Chief McCutchen has basically had a 10-month job interview,” Tannehill said in a statement. “I am speaking for the Board when I say that we could not be more proud of how Interim Chief McCutchen has led the department and represented our community through some extremely tough situations. We have complete confidence in his ability to lead the Oxford Police Department into the future and continue to serve our community with wisdom and compassion.”

McCutchen has worked in law enforcement for 17 years, serving as OPD’s Operations Major since 2014, where he supervised patrols, investigations and Special Event Details.

Prior to being moved to Operations Major, McCutchen also held the titles of Supervisor over Investigations, Patrol Officer, DUI Officer and SWAT Commander.

“I am truly honored to serve the citizens of Oxford and the staff at OPD,” McCutchen said in a statement to the EAGLE.  “The support we have received from our community this year has been overwhelming! I’m grateful to Mayor Tannehill and the Board of Aldermen for trusting me to serve as their Chief and I cannot thank Sheriff Joey East enough for his wisdom and mentoring throughout my career. We look forward to continuing to build bridges in our community and serving our citizens with wisdom and compassion.”

McCutchen is replacing East, who worked at OPD for 26 years, moving his way up the ranks to Chief.

Earlier this month, the Oxford Police Department received national accreditation through CALEA. Getting OPD to be first state, then nationally, certified department was an idea East initially had a few years back and put into motion, but under McCutchen’s supervision, the department received the honor after a hearing on Nov. 15 in Kentucky.

East is replacing his father, F.D. ‘Buddy’ East, who was sheriff of Lafayette County since 1972. He will officially take over the sheriff’s department in January.

“Chief Joey East’s service to the Oxford Police Department and to our community over the past 24 years has been incredible,” Tannehill’s statement continued. “Chief East has led by example and leaves the department better than he found it. Chief East’s focus on community policing, establishing a downtown district unit, incorporating a mounted patrol unit and most recently securing CALEA certification for the Oxford Police Department has set the department on a path for success and service. We are forever indebted to Chief East for his service to all of us.

“As a Board, we are so proud of Joey for not only following his heart, but also his Dad’s foot steps. We know he will continue to lead and serve our community well in his new role as Sheriff.”

The City will honor East and his service in a ceremony at the Oxford Conference Center on Dec. 30 from 2 to 4 p.m.