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Former Hazard Police Chief dies following battle with cancer

By: Steve Hensley Email
By: Steve Hensley Email

His story touched the hearts of many across the mountains.

Just two weeks, after former Hazard Police Chief Rod Maggard told us about his long battle with cancer, Maggard has died.

"You become aware of how blessed you are,” Maggard said in a May 30th interview.

In his final and emotional interview with WYMT, he talked about his more than two year battle with colo-rectal cancer and how he continued to stay positive.

“I think 70 percent of the cure of cancer is all mental, I really do,” Said Maggard.

Maggard kept his faith until the end. He said it even got stronger as he went through many chemo treatments and surgeries week after week.

“I just give all the praise to the lord almighty. He's just been so good to us,” Maggard said.

Rod Maggard was born in Harlan County.

He was in the Air Force and served in Vietnam.

He became a state police trooper and was stationed in Hazard in 1967.

“I met a little blonde headed girl here in 1969 that sort of swayed me into staying in Hazard,” Maggard said.

He was with Kentucky State Police for 14 years and then a security director for a coal company for ten years.

After that, he served as Hazard Police Chief for about a decade.

During that time, there were only three murders in the city, including one on his last day.

He was chief when President Clinton came to town in 1999 and saw prescription drug abuse become a huge problem.

Maggard would later testify before Congress about the drug problem and he got to meet another president.

Maggard left the Hazard Police Department and became the first director of the new Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center in 2002.

The state of the art facility helps train officers from across the country.

“It's a pleasure to be able to bring them into Hazard and say this is the rural law enforcement center and this is what we have to offer for you.” Maggard was proud of the facility, “I can tell you straight up and down that we've been in almost every state in the union and we have the best training for police officers in the state of Kentucky.”

Maggard and his wife Beverly had three daughters who were all in the award winning Hazard Band of Gold.

Band supporters will remember Maggard on the sidelines year after year as he would wave his hat in approval.

Maggard was diagnosed with cancer just as he was beginning a campaign for sheriff in early 2010.

He told me in the final weeks of his life that he wanted to be remembered simply as a police officer, “Someone that loved people, honesty, truthful, integrity, and looking out for the welfare of others.”

The visitation for Maggard will be Friday from 6pm-9pm at The Forum in Hazard.

His funeral will be Saturday morning at 11am, also at The Forum.

Rod Maggard was 68 years old.

Maggard asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the ARH Cancer Center in Hazard.


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