Young sworn in as Eureka Springs chief of police

Friday, September 7, 2018
Eureka Springs Mayor Butch Berry swears in Brian Young as the city’s new police chief on Friday, Aug. 31. Young succeeds former chief Thomas Achord.
Photo by Tavi Ellis/Carroll County News

Brian Young is moving up at the Eureka Springs Police Department.

On Friday, Aug. 31, Mayor Butch Berry swore Young in as the new police chief, replacing former chief Thomas Achord. Berry said Young was the best choice.

“He was, of course, the assistant chief of police, but being a graduate of Eureka Springs, he knows the climate here,” Berry said. “We’re a town of hospitality, and we’re not a town that needs a SWAT team. I think Brian is following in the footsteps of [Achord], and it’s a natural fit.”

Achord said he’s proud of Young.

“I think he will continue with what the department has been doing for the last decade or more,” Achord said. “It will keep improving. He’s got the right mindset, and he works well with people.”

For Young, his new job title came as a surprise. Young recalled starting out with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office in 1999, saying he worked in the jail and as a road deputy until moving to the Eureka Springs Police Department in 2004.

“I’ve been here ever since,” Young said.

He moved to Eureka Springs from Moore, Okla., in 1988, Young said, just in time to graduate from Eureka Springs High School in 1989. Young said he grew up around law enforcement, with his father working as a firefighter and his uncles working as police officers.

“As young kids, most of us want to be firefighters or cops when we grow up,” Young said. “I went with it.”

It’s unreal, Young said, to be sitting in the police chief’s office.

“I never thought I’d go this high in law enforcement. It feels really good knowing I made it to the top,” Young said. “When I started out, that wasn’t my goal, but you can find different paths in the police department than you expected.”

Throughout his career in law enforcement, Young said, his proudest moments have involved helping children. He remembered working on a case where a man was abusing his stepdaughters, saying it weighed on his heart to see such a sad situation.

“We wound up getting him caught, and he’s still in prison,” Young said. “There’s no telling what could have happened to those girls later in life. To be able to get them out of that environment so they can have strong, healthy lives is rewarding.”

He’s always loved helping young people, Young said. He recalled serving as the school resource officer in Eureka Springs for many years, where he became acquainted with kids from all kinds of backgrounds. He’s usually drawn to the kids who need a little extra help, Young said.

“There are some kids who don’t have strong role models, and I like my officers to be in touch with those kids and to be there for them,” Young said. “It’s not necessarily the ones that are getting in trouble but just those who need more guidance, who don’t have opportunities afforded to them automatically.”

One thing he hopes to work on, Young said, is bringing back a summer program for kids. The program was popular, he said, but slowed down after a venue change.

“When we first started it, we’d have 25 kids come out for the program. The year before our last year, I had like 103 kids out there in one day,” Young said. “That’s one of the big things we’re going to work on, getting the summer program going again. There’s a lot of those kids who really look forward to it.”

He doesn’t plan to change that much else, Young said. He described how important it is to remain consistent, saying the police department is already in pretty good shape.

“I like the way our department is set up. We’ve all worked hard, and I want to keep the tradition going,” Young said. “We’ve got it working really well, and if it ain’t broke, we’re not fixing it.”

Young continued, “A lot of people think a change in chiefs means a change around here. But we’ve got a real structure, we’ve got it the way we like it and that’s how we’re going to keep it going.”

No matter what, Young said, he thinks of the community first.

“The police department is here for the community, and we will always be,” Young said. “We’re going to continue bettering ourselves to make everyone safer.”

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