HAZARD – Funeral arrangements are now complete for former Hazard Police Chief Rod Maggard, who died early Wednesday morning following a long illness. He was 68.
Maggard was a well-known member of the community in Hazard and Perry County, having served as a Kentucky State Trooper at the Hazard Post long before accepting the position of police chief in the city of Hazard.
Rod was also a veteran of the Vietnam War and served as the first director of the Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center in Hazard. A dedicated lawman, Maggard sat on the board that created the police officer professional standards, and was one of the first certified officers in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Maggard’s visitation will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 15 at the Hal Rogers Forum in Hazard. Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. at the Forum, with Dr. Bill Scott and Rev. Chris Fugate officiating.
A graduate of Cumberland High School in Harlan County, Maggard attended Southeast Community College. He later made his way to Middletown, Ohio and took a job in construction. It was during a visit home to Eastern Kentucky one weekend that Rod’s mother, Margaret, told him that he had received his draft notice.
Maggard reported to Lackland Air Force Base for basic training, and served for a time as a Morse Radio Intercept Operator in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was later assigned to the Air Force’s Security Service, and shipped out to the Isle of Crete off the cost of Greece before he was eventually deployed to DaNang, Vietnam. He served a tour of 14 months during that conflict in southeast Asia.
In 1967, he returned to Hazard and became a trooper with the Kentucky State Police, where he would receive numerous awards as both a trooper and detective, including Trooper of the Year for the Hazard KSP Post.
Maggard took a job in 1981 as the director of security for Blue Diamond Coal, and in 1991 accepted the position of police chief for the City of Hazard, continuing an already distinguished career in law enforcement.
While chief, Maggard was invited to the White House as the representative of the Kentucky Chiefs of Police, and he served on the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council from July 1995 to 1999, appointed by then Gov. Brereton Jones. Former Gov. Paul Patton re-appointed Maggard to the board in 1999, and he continued service until 2001.
In 1997, he was appointed to the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center Advisory Council, and served as president of the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police from 1999 to 2000.
Maggard retired as police chief in March 2001, and accepted the position as director of the Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center in Hazard. By 2004, he continued to serve on several committees and boards, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Safe Neighborhood Advisory Committee and the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center Executive Committee Advisory Board.
In 1969, Rod married Beverly Combs, and she survives him. In an interview with the Herald in 2004, Maggard noted that Beverly was the biggest influence on his life, and that he had accomplished more in his life than he had ever expected. He added that he would simply like to be remembered as a good member of the community.
Maggard did have the respect of his fellow members of the law enforcement community. As Chief Ronnie Bryant, Maggard's successor at the Hazard Police Department, retired late last year, he noted that it was Maggard who ushered the Hazard Police Department into the modern era of law enforcement.
“Chief Maggard was definitely a great influence to me,” Bryant said. “I really respect him, and tried to imitate a lot of the things he did as chief, and I appreciate everything Rod did to help me to make me become a better chief.”
Maggard had battled cancer for several months, and in an interview with WYMT’s Steve Hensley just last month, he expressed more concern over his family than with himself.
“It’s really not bothered me much,” he said. “It’s really harder on the family than it is on the patient themselves because they suffer daily.”