Courtney Prewitt is the new Chief of Police
Garden City has a new Chief of Police.
Courtney Prewitt was sworn in as the Chief of Police for the Garden City Police Department on March 29.
Prior to becoming Chief Prewitt was a Captain and has been with the GCPD since 1999.
A native of Garden City, Prewitt graduated from Garden City High School in 1993.
Following high school he attended Southwestern College in Winfield for a couple of years before transferring to Washburn University where he graduated from in 1999 with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.
In addition to policing, Prewitt is a member of the Kansas National Guard where he is a major. He is thinking of retiring from there this year.
Prewitt said he decided to pursue a career in law enforcement because both of his parents were involved in public service, specifically the medical field. His father retired as the director of EMS and his mother retired as the Chief Nursing at St. Catherine Hospital.
"Growing up with parents that both were in the medical field and a dad that was in public service, it was kind of just something that we grew up with as kids, my sister and I, and we used to go on ambulance calls with him when he had to go and it was something that just was always a presence," he said.
After college, Prewitt said he didn't have any place in particular where he wanted to be, however there was an opening in Garden City at the time so he applied. At the same time he applied to a federal law enforcement agency, but Garden City came first, so he came home.
"I didn't really care where I did it, I just knew it was something I wanted to do and the hand that was dealt worked out, that I got to come home," he said. "The Garden City Police Department has always had a reputation for having really good training and experience, especially back then with what the city had going on at that time. There was a lot of experience to be had as a police officer."
Prewitt said what has kept him in the law enforcement field this whole time is the cliche of wanting to help people, and to see people succeed, he enjoys watching young offices move up in the ranks and become comfortable in law enforcement.
"It warms my heart quite a bit to see young officers come into a profession and want to serve their community and get the opportunity to do it and then they get really good training and then they have that 'ah ha' moment where things start to click and it's kind of neat to see," he said. "Then to see them progress through their careers, young officers and really doing very, very well and then they get into leadership tracks or investigatory tracks and seeing them hitting home runs in that capacity is very neat as well."
After 22 years with the GCPD, now was the right time to pursue becoming the Police Chief, Prewitt said. He has more experience and it seemed like the right time in his personal life, he can now focus on his chiefly duties.
Prewitt said his first week and a half in office has been busy, and unfortunately there was a homicide, but he's beginning to learn how his role has changed from just being a Captain to being the Chief.
A lot has changed, Prewitt said. He now has to focus on the Police Department as a whole rather than focusing on the patrol division, which he was responsible for as Captain.
"I have to make sure that I focus on the entire department and ensure that the professional staff that we have here and the sworn officers have a voice across the alley with city admin and making sure that that voice is heard and making sure that we tell our story to the public like we should be and we make sure that we take care of the public like they expect," he said.
In his first year, Prewitt hopes COVID-19 can be put in the rear-view mirror and get back to normal, whatever normal will look like.
"Like everybody, probably getting COVID put in the rear view mirror and definitely getting a little bit past the tumultuous election cycle that we had and some of the hate and discontent and the rhetoric that was pushed out during that time," he said. "If there's a silver-lining in any of that and probably for any organization, it taught us what we're truly capable of and how to be flexible and deal with adversity."
Prewitt said he is glad to the be new Chief of Police, Garden City is home.
"My family's here, my kids go to school here, my second family's here at the Police Department," he said. "(I'm happy) just making sure that they get taken care of the best that I can and above all making sure that the folks in Garden City and the community that we serve get the best that we got."
He and his wife, Ivaree, and two children.