The Columbus Police Department spent much of Friday handing out 16 promotions, but the top two positions went to a pair of veteran officers who took different paths to major.
Capt. J.D. Hawk, who was hired in 1978, and Capt. Freddie D. Blackmon, who joined the force in 1986, were moved into major slots created by the retirements of Maj. Julius Graham and Maj. Gene Hillhouse. Hawk will oversee the Patrol Division, while Blackmon has been placed in charge of the Office of Professional Standards, the internal investigative unit.
Hawk, 57, was passed over five times for promotion to major since he was promoted to captain in 2000. Blackmon, 49, was a captain less than two years before Chief Ricky Boren tabbed him for greater responsibility.
“It was a long time coming,” said Hawk, who is the department’s logistics specialist who has coordinated the SOA Watch protest for many years and is the department’s chief hostage negotiator. “I want to thank the chief for considering me after all the grief I have put him through.”
Hawk was fined for an October 2007 incident where he was ticketed for driving 103 mph in a 65 mph zone. He said he was responding to a family emergency involving his daughter.
Boren, as he was reading Hawk’s list of accomplishments over his 36-year career, pointed out Hawk received a 25-year safe-driving award.
“I don’t know how he did this,” the chief joked as many crammed into the room laughed.
Hawk, who has spent much of his time as a detective, said he looked forward to leading the patrol, the largest of the department’s divisions.
“I have been after this job for a year,” he said. “I can retire today, but I want to stay. I want to help this police department be the best department it can be. I want to teach young officers how to be good cops. And I want to teach them how to take care of citizens.”
Blackmon has worked in the 911 center, patrol, as a detective and in human resources over his 28 years with the department.
“The experience I have gained over the years as an officer, an investigator and working in the personnel department with an emphasis on policy and procedure, gives me the skill set I need to do this job,” said Blackmon. “Everything that I have done has prepared me for the next chapter.”
Boren, who has been chief for 10 years, said he is pleased with his new six-person command staff, which has changed dramatically in the last year with the retirements of Assistant Chief Charlie Rowe, Hillhouse and Graham.
“I think we have a strong command staff,” Boren said. “We have a very strong command staff.”
The elevation of Hawk and Blackmon triggered 14 additional promotions:
Lt. Tony Danford and Lt. James A. Pope to captain.
Sgt. Thomas C. Dent and Sgt. Tony A. Litle to lieutenant.
Cpl. David J. Jury and Cpl. Alicia Hoover to sergeant.
Officers Dustin Allen, Daniel Dawson, Douglas Dunlap, Jose Marrero, Pricilla Meeks, Delante Odom, Derick Solt and Nathan Tooley to corporal.