Mayor names new police chief

Seymour’s newest police chief brings nearly three decades of experience to the job.

All of that experience was gained in the place he has come to call home.

Chief Greg O’Brien, who grew up in Lawrenceburg, may have had some opportunities over the years to move to a department in another community, but Seymour is where he wants to be.

“I really like it here,” he said.

O’Brien replaces Bryant Lucas, who resigned in May after two and a half years on the job to take the position of director-chief of police for the South Central Region of Indiana University Health.

O’Brien, 50, started his first shift as police chief at 9 a.m. Friday after being appointed by Mayor Matt Nicholson. Lt. John Watson was appointed assistant chief.

The city has grown a lot since he joined the force in 1996 and is still growing, O’Brien said.

That means it has started seeing some of the issues bigger cities have to tackle, but it’s still a great place to live and work, just no longer a “small town,” he said.

Being a police officer is always something he has wanted to do, O’Brien said.

“I come from a family of four generations of law enforcement,” he said. “I have my great-grandfather’s badge and a picture of my grandfather overlooking my desk to make sure I am doing a good job.”

His father also was a police officer for a time.

Just out of high school, O’Brien said he joined the Army to earn money to go to college.

When his stint with the military was up, he headed straight to Vincennes University to obtain an associate degree in criminal justice. After graduating in December 1994, he started applying for jobs with police departments in communities across southeastern Indiana.

Seymour hired him in 1996, and he went on to graduate from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy’s 126th class. He has pretty much done in it all with SPD in the ensuing years.

He started out as a patrolman and later became a school resource officer and a DARE officer. He also was a patrol sergeant and later became a detective before being promoted to detective sergeant. He also was a crime scene technician until his certification ran out because as assistant chief, he was no longer working cases.

“I never dreamed of becoming chief,” he said. “That was until about six years ago when I felt I was ready.”

As chief, O’Brien will oversee 45 officers and 14 dispatchers.

“I am really excited about it,” he said. “There are a few things I would like to bring back from past, and we’re going to start working on those right now.”

The personable officer who has no problem talking to anyone he meets also said he plans to institute a Coffee with the Chief initiative — similar to the mayor’s Curbside Chats — where people can sit down with him.

“I want to be open and I want people to come so I can listen to their issues and concerns,” O’Brien said of talks he hopes to do once a month.

He’s also is going to busy taking college courses to earn his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.