Fayette County

Lexington police name female assistant chief

Melissa Sedlaczek
Melissa Sedlaczek

For just the second time in its history, the Lexington Police Department has a female assistant chief.

Melissa Sedlaczek, a 26-year veteran of the force, has been promoted to assistant chief of the Bureau of Special Operations, one of four assistant chiefs serving under Chief Mark Barnard.

Sedlaczek, who earned a degree in police administration from the University of Louisville, has worked in a number of units within the department during her career, from patrol to the bicycle unit, moving up through the ranks.

She became a lieutenant in 2007 and was promoted to commander in 2012. She worked in administration for a time, then served as commander of the department’s central sector before becoming commander of special operations six months ago.

The Special Operations Bureau includes the Community Law Enforcement Action and Response unit, traffic, bicycle, mounted and canine units, as well as community services and part-time units such as the helicopter, emergency response and collision reconstruction units.

“I like trying to make the community better,” Sedlaczek said. “Most police officers truly enjoy problem solving. That’s what 90 percent of this job is.”

Sandy Devers, the first woman to serve as an assistant chief in Lexington, was promoted to the position in 1993 and retired in 2005.

Women make up about 8 percent of the sworn personnel at the police department.

Sedlaczek said she thinks perceptions of women in policing have changed for the better during her career.

“We would like our police force to be representative of the population as a whole,” she said. “Diversity makes us better from the inside out.”

At the same time as Sedlaczek was promoted, Eric Lowe was promoted from lieutenant to commander.