The revolving door of personnel at the Jackson Police Department (JPD) will take another major swing later this month when its highest-ranking officer, Police Chief Allen Potter, retires.

At the start of  Monday evening’s regular meeting of Jackson City Council, Jackson Mayor Randy Evans announced that Potter would be retiring, effective Wednesday, Oct. 20, and that veteran Sgt. Brett Hinsch had been appointed to serve as interim Police Chief, effective Thursday, Oct. 21.

Potter has served 25-plus years at JPD and became its chief on Dec. 10, 2018, following the retirement of former Police Chief Carl Eisnaugle. Potter, a 1992 graduate of Oak Hill High School, who still resides in the Oak Hill area, began his JPD service as an auxiliary officer in the late fall of 1994 while also working as a seasonal officer for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He secured an appointment as a full-time officer, effective May 9, 1996.

Potter was present at Monday evening’s meeting to speak to Council to officially acknowledge his retirement. He was accompanied by his wife, Charity, and their two children, daughter Grace and son Sullivan.

Potter has presided over a very difficult period for JPD, which has experienced major staffing cuts due to a loss of General Fund revenue which began to impact the department in 2018. The passage a city income tax in 2020 has provided some additional funding, but only several of the lost positions have been restored. During the last several years, some of the more veteran officers have either retired or accepted jobs at other law enforcement agencies.

“I have been humbled and honored to be the chief of police,” Potter stated. “It’s been an honor and privilege to be in charge and work with some of the best people in law enforcement.”

Potter also thanked his family members for their support, while naming each one of them. “I am so thankful I have a good family,” he remarked.

Potter acknowledged the job has not always been easy but is thankful for the opportunity to have worked for the Jackson Police Department for the past 25 years.

When asked if the reduced staffing situation and related issues had anything to do with his decision to retire at this time, the always honest Potter could not deny it weighed into his decision but added there were a number of “deciding factors” involved in his decision. He lamented that he never had the chance to lead a larger staff that he had been part of as an officer. Potter noted JPD currently has three openings that are still yet to be filled.

“Twenty-five years is a blessing, but it can be a lot to deal with,” Potter reflected. “It’s a young man’s job.”

Potter told The Telegram he had no definite plans for his retirement but is looking forward to spending more time with his family and noted that Sullivan is a senior at Wellston High School and that now he won’t have to miss attending some of Sullivan’s school and extra-curricular activities.

Following his remarks, Potter drew praise from Sgt. Hinsch and City Auditor Brett Reed, and positive comments from Councilman Ryan Peters and Councilwoman Debbie Biggs.

Hinsch congratulated Potter for his leadership and credited Chief Potter for preparing for the day when he would no longer be there and preserve the continuity of service. “He helped prepare the department for his departure,” Hinsch said.

Auditor Reed observed that Chief Potter inherited a very hard situation but was able to execute a “style change” which he felt was positive for JPD. He declared that Potter “did the right thing.”

Councilman Peters thanked Chief Potter for always being responsive when he had questions and Councilwoman Biggs stated she felt that with all the changes JPD now has a “nice blend” of both veteran and younger officers.

Interim Chief Appointed

Sgt. Hinsch will serve as interim JPD police chief until a permanent appointment can be made through the civil-service process. He was introduced following the comments of Chief Potter.

Hinsch stated that his service with JPD goes back to 2002 when he became an auxiliary officer. In 2004, he became a full-time dispatcher and in 2006, he became a full-time patrolman. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2014.

Hinsch told city officials the appointment “means a lot to me” and he indicated that he takes the responsibility that comes with it very seriously and that he welcomes their input. He also told The Telegram later that he would be seeking the permanent appointment.