“Our situation here is rather unusual. Usually when there’s a change in leadership at a law enforcement agency, a new leader isn’t selected until after the old one’s gone,” Feathers said.
Weeks after Feathers announced his retirement in late September, the city of Powell hired Eckerdt, then a sergeant, as police chief.
“It’s a new beginning ... There’s new leadership, there’s a fresh vision and there’s going to be new energy brought in to carry out that vision,” Feathers said during a “change of command” ceremony Friday afternoon.
Eckerdt joined the department in December 2003 and became a sergeant in July 2004.
Feathers said Eckerdt aspired to be the next police chief. Over the last several years, Feathers watched to see how Eckerdt handled issues that arose every day.
“What I saw emerge was a man of character, a man of principle ... a skilled leader,” Feathers said. “What I saw that gave me a great sense of confidence was wisdom. Real wisdom.
“I come to this day with complete and absolute confidence in the leadership of the Powell Police Department from this day forward,” Feathers said.
Feathers retired after serving more than 30 years with the Powell Police Department, the past 13 1/2 as chief.
Shortly after becoming chief on Friday, Eckerdt honored Feathers and his wife, Tonya, and their children for their years of service to Powell.
“More than anything, I want to thank them for their 30 years and what they’ve built in this agency,” Eckerdt said.
Eckerdt said he is proud of the Powell Police Department and confident in its officers.
“I consider myself very fortunate to inherit an agency that’s built on a foundation of strong moral character,” Eckerdt said.
After a year of numerous transitions, Eckerdt will be leading a younger police force with four new officers. The department also has two vacant positions.
“Our ranks are filled with promising young officers coming up ... I look forward to the future of the agency while maintaining a reverence and respect for the past.”
In addition to their career changes, Feathers and Eckerdt also are celebrating major changes in their families this week. Both men are welcoming new daughters-in-law to their families.
On Friday, just hours after Eckerdt became police chief, his son was married in Powell. Feathers’ son also is getting married this week.
During Friday’s ceremony, Feathers also recognized Eckerdt’s wife, Kelly, and his family.
“We understand that no man’s an island, and Roy’s not getting into this alone — he drags his entire family with him,” Feathers said to laughter at Friday’s ceremony.
“They will be alongside him, bearing the burdens and supporting him along the way. I clearly understand that, believe me, as one who’s been blessed by strong support.”
(Editor’s note: The Tribune will publish an article about Tim Feathers’ career with the Powell Police Department prior to a retirement open house in January.)