Ardmore Police Chief Keith Mann appointed Capt. Eric Hamblin to the deputy police chief's position and promoted Officer Dustin Ragland to the rank of corporal in ceremonies Thursday in the commission chambers at City Hall.
The chief called Hamblin his "go to guy" saying, "Eric has meant a great deal to me. He has been with me since the day I came. We've come a long way and we've made great strides along the way. Eric is the one I counted on to talk things over with and argue with me. I'm very happy to promote him as deputy chief."
Hamblin's daughter, Hillary, participated in the ceremony, pinning her father's new badge on his uniform.
"I'm very appreciative of Chief Mann. He's been a father figure to me," Hamblin said, also commending the efforts of City Manager J.D. Spohn and the city commissioners in supporting the department's move forward. "And we wouldn't be where we are without the officers. We have a great group of officers and a great support staff."
Hamblin is a 19 APD veteran. He has served in the patrol division as a patrolman, sergeant, and captain. Hamblin was assigned to the narcotics division for five years and was honored as the Narcotics Officer of the Year in 2000-2001. He has also served in the training, public information, and internal affairs units, as well as the APD Investigations Division supervisor
He was an original member of the APD SWAT Team serving as a team leader and rising to team commander before leaving the team in 2009. Hamblin was named the APD Supervisor of the Year in 2005 and 2006. He is a CLEET Certified Defensive Tactics and LEDT Instructor. Hamblin's most recent assignment has been as the APD Administrative Captain under Chief Mann.
A graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1992, Hamblin is a graduate of the 245th Session of the FBI National Academy. He has been an adjunct professor for Murray State College for several years. He is the proud father of four children. Following the ceremony Hamblin talked about his goals as deputy chief.
"I will continue to work closely with Chief Mann and to help lead the APD forward to obtain the goals we have set out. I want to continue to provide positive leadership and provide the best service possible to the citizens of Ardmore," he said.
Mann said when he took the job of APD Chief many believed he would bring someone in from outside the department to serve in the deputy chief's post.
"I found what was needed within the department and I have been quite pleased with the abilities of the officers serving here. Eric has played a major role in the accomplishments we have achieved since I have been the chief of police. He played a major role in CALEA accreditation, the hiring and training of new officers and moving the department forward. His willingness to support the goals and objectives I have for the department has enabled me to accomplish them much faster and easier. He is respected by his fellow officers and they look to him for leadership. I am confident he is the right person for the job and I trust his judgment and abilities," Mann said.
Page 2 of 2 - Promoting Ragland, Mann said, "He comes in early and he stays late. He doesn't say a whole lot, but he gets a lot done. I'm not promoting him, he's earned this."
Ragland's wife, Daria, pinned her husband new badge on, officially upgrading his rank.
Following the ceremony Ragland spoke briefly thanking the audience for attending the event and saying he was very pleased to have been promoted.
A member of APD since 2006, Ragland has served in the patrol division and the narcotics division. He is currently a member of the ASSET Team, a SWAT Team member and a CLEET certified instructor. In addition Ragland holds certifications as a field training officer and in clandestine lab operations.
A graduate of Wilson High School, he has lived in this area all his life. Ragland and his wife Daria have been married six years and have one child.
Following his promotion, Ragland also talked about his APD career goals.
"I'm very excited and thankful for this promotion and I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead of me," he said.
Ragland was selected for rank after undergoing an extensive testing and interview process. Mann said he was delighted to promote the veteran officer calling him," extremely dedicated and hard working."
Mayor Bob Geurin took the opportunity of the event to speak directly to all of Ardmore's police officers. Saying he was speaking "on behalf" of the entire city commission, Geurin acknowledged the department has been through "tough times" in the past.
"We appreciate the Ardmore Police Department —where you are are, where you've been and where you've come to," Geurin said, thanking Mann and Hamblin for their leadership. "We ar thrilled to death with the Ardmore Police Department. We proud of all of you and we congratulate all of you"
Mann also recognized Sheriff Ken Grace, who was in attendance, saying he appreciated the cooperative efforts between the APD and the CCSD.
"Ken has had my back since I got here," he said.