Carden said his appointment is not about him, but about “people, core values and a new beginning” for the police department.
“In this heightened political environment, it is incumbent upon our police department to remain focused, loyal to our core values and mission and to remain on task,” Carden said. “Our fundamental duty is, has always been and, under my administration, will continue to be to reduce crime and disorder in the city of Sylacauga. As part of that goal, we will make every attempt to lessen the fear of crime through building on partnerships already in place and by forging new partnerships.”
Carden said the department will accomplish its mission through information sharing, technological advancements, training and communication with the public.
“I, nor should you, judge our effectiveness on the number of arrests we make or the tickets we write or on how long it takes us to get to calls,” he said. “We should be judged and held accountable for the overall reduction of fear, crime and disorder in this great city. This, however, is not a dash. This is a marathon, and one I hope we as a community will run together.”
Mayor Sam Wright said the position of police chief is “one of the most important, most visible, with the most responsibility of any position in our city, charged with the most critical quality of life issues: safety and security.”
He said Carden, who was promoted to chief by a unanimous vote at the May 15 City Council meeting, was the right selection as an 18-year veteran of the department and a third-generation Sylacauga police officer.
“His success will be dependent on his ability and commitment to service, which he has, but just as important is going to be the support of his family, the support of the community and the support of the department, as well as all of the city of Sylacauga,” Wright said.
During the ceremony, Carden recognized his family and several others who he credits with helping him reach this point in his career. Those people included Robert Watson, Vincent Crosby, Bill Hay, Tom Carden, Cecil Moore, Butch Carden and Louis Zook.
Carden said their influences have hugely impacted where he is today.
Crosby, a retired sergeant major in the U.S. Army, flew in from San Antonio, Texas, to attend Tuesday’s service. Crosby said he has enjoyed watching Carden’s career progress since serving as his drill instructor 23 years ago when Carden was in the military police.
“I am extremely proud of him,” Crosby said. “Drill sergeants don’t normally get to have this relationship, so he is very special. It has been awesome to sit back and watch him pursue his dreams and accomplish them. Whenever he encountered an obstacle, he pulled through with perseverance, and the reason he has been so successful is because he is a child of God.”
Zook, law enforcement coordinator for the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and former Sylacauga police chief, presented Carden with a plaque from Gov. Robert Bentley awarding him the title of honorary colonel and a certificate of congratulations from Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.
Carden also took an oath to God, family and community administered by the Rev. Lewis Archer of First United Methodist Church.
Carden said he promises to provide strong leadership and guidance to the men and women of the department and transparency and accountability to the community.
“I vowed to do the right thing, made promises to be valiant and protective over this city and the men and women of this department,” Carden said. “It’s not something I take lightly or something that is simply just for show. I believe that in order for me to be successful as your police chief, my priorities have to be in line and my promises to serve must go well beyond that oath I took earlier.”
“It is my every intention to be vigilant in serving the Lord and to constantly and prayerfully seek his guidance and grace as I serve this city as the police chief,” Carden said. “That is my promise to the Lord, that is my promise to my family, that is my promise to my co-workers and that is my promise to this community.”
Contact Emily Adams at email@example.com.