Speaking in his office Friday morning, freshly appointed Brownwood Police Chief Ed Kading acknowledged his first week on the job had been a long one.
That wasn’t a complaint from the high-energy Kading, who spent more than 25 years with the San Angelo Police Department before coming to Brownwood. Far from it.
“I love the work,” Kading said more than once.
Since his swearing-in Monday, Kading has talked with Brownwood City Manager Emily Crawford and Brownwood City Council members; started the process of getting to know the officers in the Brownwood Police Department and earn their trust and respect; met with Sheriff Vance Hill as the two talked about the need for their respective agencies to continue working together; and been on a guest on a local radio show.
Those are just a few of the activities Kading described
Kading enjoyed being on the radio, and he’s got an interview scheduled at another radio station. “I had a blast,” Kading said of doing radio. “It was fun. I literally had no idea that that was kind of a thing over here. There’s no hiding in this town.”
Kading said he had a great week. I’m excited,” Kading said. “I had a conversation (Thursday) with Mrs. Crawford. We were in a meeting. I said I’ve dealt with some things this week that really involve us in the way city government works.”
With the San Angelo Police Department, Kading held several command assignments including SWAT team and street crimes division commander.
He was among 22 applicants to take the Brownwood police chief’s job, which came vacant with the April resignation for former chief Terry Nichols. Nichols resigned to take the job of Segin police chief.
Kading admitted to being “a little frustrated” with himself. “I wanted to get more done this week, but coming into a new job, a new position that I’ve never held before, I don’t know that I really knew exactly what I wanted to get done,” Kading said.
“I feel like I wanted to get more done because I wanted to reach out to more of my officers this week. I’ve been able to talk to the command staff and kind of get acquainted with them and understand our procedures and the way we’re doing things around here. I just haven’t had the time to really get out and meet a lot of the officers but I’m going to be doing that in the near future.”
Kading said he has no qualms about leaving the larger city and larger agency to come to Brownwood. “I think like I told you guys … the issues are the same,” Kading said. “There may not be as many of them, but what I have learned this week is that there is plenty for me to do.
“I told several people this week I love the work, I love dealing with the issues, I like learning about how we do things here.”
Kading said he wants to make sure the department is as streamlined, transparent and effective as possible.
“Chief Nichols did a great job here,” Kading said. “I can tell that by just talking to some of the people. They have nothing but good things to say about him and — knowing him a little bit — I can definitely see the imprint that he had on this department.
“Everybody does things a little bit different but really it’s about putting — when I say ‘my personal stamp,’ we all have our own personality. I kind of had to decide when I came here, what kind of chief are you going to be? The challenge is not wavering from who you want to be.”
Kading said there will obviously be some adjustments, and acknowledged that “everybody has opinions and ideas of things we can change. I’m not here to make these vast sweeping changes in my first week. But as we go on, my command staff, the officers, are going to have some input, and opinions on ’hey I kind of would like to change this or do this.’ By no means is there anything broken here.
“I have a lot of energy. I have a lot of expectations to be effective, to take care of my people. This job’s not about me. I am responsible, I am accountable for what my officers do but this is not about me. I want the citizens of Brownwood to feel safe and comfortable in the process of public safety.”
Although he’s still getting to know the department, Kading said he knows the agency has talented people.
“I’ve had some great conversations with a few of them and they’re excited, and so I’m excited,” Kading said. “It’s been a long week but I love the work. I think we are a young department overall and that’s exciting because guys want to get out there and work.
“The challenge before me and us is just to make sure that they are as well trained as possible, that they have the equipment and resources that they need to keep the community safe and themselves safe. I’ve gotten a lot of input around the community so far. I think we’re doing a good job.”
Kading said when he was first offered the job, his first thought was a combination of achievement and some fear.
“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Kading said. “Leaving a very secure career that I had in San Angelo and taking this step, and when you start to think about the responsibility and accountability that I do have … when you have an entire department and entire city really looking to you, it’s an overwhelming feeling.
“I can’t tell you how helpful Mrs. Crawford and the council have been. We communicate quite a bit and all of that concern and worry is gone. I love coming to work. I always have but I am really just excited to come to work.”
Kading said he knows there will be some tough times, but building relationships with the officers will enable to department to weather those times.
“And I really use hope the officers till give me a chance to earn their trust, to earn their respect and to just understand that what I say, I really do mean,” Kading said
“Many of my officers are from Brownwood. They’ve been here. I can appreciate the fact that I am the outsider coming in and so I’m sure there’s a healthy bit of deserved skepticism or just kind of wondering. And I don’t want them to wonder for long. I don’t want them to stress about that.”