Spotlight: Jackson County Sheriff Paul Hays

Spotlight: Jackson County Sheriff Paul Hays


Years in Law Enforcement: 37

Current Position: Sheriff of Jackson County Sheriff for three years

Prior Law Enforcement Experience: Approximately 25 years with KSP; Command positions with KSP SRT, Intelligence Section, Post 7, Richmond and Post 11, London; Approximately 10 years with Operation UNITE, regional commander, Deputy Director of Law Enforcement and Director of Law Enforcement

Education: AA Degree in Law Enforcement at Eastern Kentucky University; Graduate from KSP Academy; Graduate from FBI National Academy


I agreed to rehire the officers who formerly worked at the Jackson County Police Department after that office was closed. We adapted our office to incorporate the expertise of each officer. We also updated the office on professional conduct both on and off duty. When we began, all our cars were totally worn out. We obtained used cars from Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Bowling Green and Elsmere police departments and ultimately obtained four new vehicles with the help of our local fiscal court. We obtained grants through USDA. We also refurbished our offices and cleaned up office records.


Having had a long and versatile career in law enforcement with the Kentucky State Police for nearly 25 years, 10 years with Operation UNITE and three years with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, I have learned that you treat folks the way you want to be treated. I take a strong interest in every case. I don’t just sit in the office; I lead by example. I work cases, holidays, and night shifts and serve out in the field. When leading staff you must be upfront with them, and if you make a promise – you keep it. They have to believe what you say is what you mean. I encourage staff to be good parents, good officers, and to get involved in civic organizations, their churches, schools, and community events and blend into society. They need to be a part of the community they live in and be the best they can be.


We should learn from past experiences as we seek to improve. We should communicate with county and state leaders. Address small problems before they escalate and make sure the public knows to trust us as we serve them. There are drug issues in every county, but you can work with Operation UNITE and other drug-investigating organizations to combat that problem. Working with Operation Unite and KSP is a great partnership. We are all part of a team. Seek funding to combat the drug problems and stay proactive.


It’s a calling to be in law enforcement. It is important to stay up-to-date on various topics, training and education. My officers attend the required training each year. I attend the Kentucky Sheriff’s Conference every year and bring back what I have learned and share with my staff. I heard about DOCJT’s Check Your 6 campaign at the KSA conference. I shared this with my staff. They must wear their vest and seat belts, slow down, be aware, incorporate fitness and show respect. We must do everything in our power to keep our officers safe.

Best Law Enforcement Advice

Jackson County is similar to many small law enforcement communities in Eastern Kentucky. We struggle to accomplish our mission with extremely limited resources, but it is possible if we learn to work together. In order to reduce crime and improve quality of life for our citizens, we must utilize all available resources and work together with local constables, city police and Kentucky State Police. Our law enforcement family is important, and we share in successes with every part of our law enforcement team. We celebrate every victory together and create an atmosphere of pride in law enforcement that makes us all better.

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