More than 50 people turned out Wednesday to a promotion ceremony for corrections officers at the Fayette County Detention Center.
It was the first time since 2005 that Division of Community Corrections has held a ceremony to commemorate promotions, which have been few and far between in the last few years as the city eliminated positions in the facility and struggled with budget constraints.
"It's been a long time since we've actually had a lot of promotions because they have been eliminating positions," Maj. Jim Kammer said. "As people have been retiring out of positions, they have not been backfilled."
Wednesday's ceremony returned some of the pomp and circumstance to the process. An audience of jail staff, family members and city officials watched as pins were placed on seven corrections officers' collars, indicating their new rank.
Those officers were: Capt. Shawn Campbell; Lt. Timothy Bowman; and Sgts. Adam Moss, Christopher Toombs, Dwayne Tyree, Jerrod Stump and Wesley West.
The officers listened to a speech by Public Safety Commissioner Clay Mason, who emphasized leadership and accountability in their new roles. He cautioned that they will have to make tough decisions when leading and disciplining friends.
"Yesterday and today, you're one of the guys," he told the officers. "Tomorrow, you're the boss of a group. That changes your accountability level."
Officials said the selection process was painstaking, but that those who were promoted have the potential to one day lead the entire facility.
"We're really proud of the ceremony, and the people that we promoted," said Maj. Edye Dabney. "We have made really sound selections and we have great expectations for them."
High turnover rates at the jail have led to understaffing and high overtime costs, but officials have said they hope to curtail that trend.
Three classes of new hires should inflate the jail's thinning ranks and fill positions vacated by the officers who were promoted. One class is under way and another is scheduled to start June 4.
The Division of Community Corrections is accepting applications until July 6 for a third new recruit class, which has yet to be scheduled.