Newly appointed as captain of the Kentucky State Police Post 7, Jeremy Hamm is no stranger to Madison County.
Originally from Madison County, Hamm grew up admiring the Kentucky State Police, and even in high school, he knew that was the career he was going to pursue.
"At a young age, there were several state troopers that would come and do school visits at White Hall Elementary," Hamm said. "I would see them in the community. It just resonated with me."
And while studying at Model Laboratory High School, Hamm knew he wanted to pursue law enforcement. However, for a short time in college as a student at Eastern Kentucky University, he thought he wanted to be a teacher, so he majored in sociology.
But while in college, there was a major event that erased Hamm's doubts about law enforcement and solidified that it was actually his calling.
"The day that I knew I was going to pursue being a state trooper was on 9/11 of 2001," he said. "I was in college at the time, and after that day, I knew that that's the career path that I was going to take.
"I had a break in between classes, and I had gotten a phone call from a friend, turned on the TV, and I think I stayed in front of the TV for the next 24 hours."
He said that in addition to always wanting to serve, Hamm realized on that day how important it is to serve.
"Without having dedicated people in law enforcement and other first responders, the world would be a lot tougher of a place," he explained.
So in May 2003, after graduating from EKU in August 2002, Hamm started his training at the state police academy. His first assignment with the Kentucky State Police was at post 8 in Morehead, where he continued to work for seven and a half years.
"I enjoyed working rural counties," he said. He also said he built relationships with the people in the area during that time. "Post 8 had a very good working relationship with the community, and I enjoyed that."
But when he heard he was being assigned to post 7 in Richmond in December 2010, he was ready to be back home.
"There was a lot more traffic, but it was also nice coming back and being back in a place where I would run into people that I grew up with, went to school with," he said. Another reason he was happy about the transfer was that he wanted to raise his family in Madison County because it's the place where he grew up.
Not long after, Hamm was promoted to detective.
"I had worked the road for almost 10 years, and I wanted to be challenged," he said. "Becoming a detective definitely challenged me. You're working cases that are a lot larger scale, more involved … cases that can't be solved or wrapped up in a matter of a couple of days."
That means it was a longer and more drawn-out process than what Hamm was familiar with.
"Sometimes these cases stay open for years," he said.
Then in 2014, Hamm was promoted again, but to the rank of sergeant, and in October of that year, he was assigned to the internal affairs branch in Frankfort.
"I was very excited about getting promoted," Hamm explained. "Being offered a position at headquarters, I thought, was very rewarding. … It was also nice because I didn't have to relocate."
Instead, Hamm commuted from his Madison County home to Frankfort. It was a drive he continued to make even through his next promotion, when he became a lieutenant assigned to the financial grants management branch, which was also located in Frankfort.
He called that assignment especially challenging, as accounting was not in his background.
"But in the three years I was there, I learned about our agency's budget, federal funds, grant funding and purchasing," he explained. Between those three years and his time with internal affairs, Hamm said his law enforcement career before coming back to Richmond has been well rounded.
In September 2018, Hamm earned the highest permanent rank that one can achieve with the Kentucky State Police: the rank of captain.
"To become a captain, I felt that it was just a huge accomplishment. … To be able to achieve that rank is very gratifying."
But it wasn't until September this year that Hamm was once again appointed to his home of Madison County, where he was assigned to be the commander of the agency he admired as a young White Hall Elementary School student.
"I was very excited, for a number of reasons. … To grow up in Madison County and to come back and be over a post that services Madison County and 10 additional surrounding counties — I was excited to have more opportunity to be involved in the community, to visit schools, especially the one that both my boys go to," he said.
Hamm said he isn't sure how long he'll remain as commander of KSP Post 7, but he's happy to be there.
"What I would like to do with this post is to continue to strengthen relationships with other agencies, schools, civic organizations, community leaders and the citizens," he said. "I'm just excited to be here today. I just want to continue to serve."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Behind the Badge is a series published once a month in The Register to highlight first responders and those in any related field in Madison County. Know someone who has a good story to share? Email details to email@example.com.