It wasn’t too long ago that Warren County averaged several dozen disciplinary hearings each year stemming from incidents that occurred at county parks, many of them at youth sporting events.

For Parks and Recreation Director Chris Kummer, the final straws were a stabbing in 2016 at a youth football game and a melee among parents during a youth basketball game in 2017.

After that, Kummer requested law enforcement presence at county parks, and in 2017 former Kentucky State Police Trooper Wayne Mayfield came out of retirement to become the first uniformed officer in Warren County’s park police program.

Mayfield’s work paid off. Over time, the number of disruptions and incidents fell from about 70 each year to only a handful. Mayfield’s calm and friendly approach to his job certainly played a big part in settling the atmosphere at the parks, and county officials hope that continues to be the case now that the position has been taken over by a new park police officer: former Western Kentucky University Police Department Capt. John Bailey Jr.

Mayfield retired at the end of August after 40 years in law enforcement, and he was recently recognized for his service at a Warren Fiscal Court meeting. Bailey – who will be anchored at Buchanon Park but will be present across the park system – and Mayfield spent some time together in preparation for the transition, and Bailey has been training with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office in hopes of making the transition as seamless as possible.

We’re sure the park police program won’t miss a beat under Bailey, and we’re glad the effort will continue beyond Mayfield’s retirement.

Warren County’s beautiful parks must be safe and welcoming environments for all who use them, perhaps especially for the children and families who spend so much time there during youth sports activities. It only makes sense to have an officer specifically assigned to these facilities – not only does it expedite response time in the event of a service call, but the officer’s regular presence goes a long way on its own to discourage those who might be prone to misbehave.

We applaud county leaders for extending this service, and we thank Mayfield for setting a lofty standard for success during his years in the position.

We look forward to seeing Bailey around the county, and we’re sure he will be perform admirably in this important role for our community.

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