Police Department

Following the passage of HB 63 and amendments to KRS 158.4414, the Harlan County Public Schools Police Department was created in 2022. School Resource Officers are assigned to schools throughout the county.

All Harlan County Public Schools officers are certified through the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training. This gives SROs the same arrest powers as any other officer in the state. In addition to certification, SROs attend 40 hours of annual training that the state requires of all sworn law enforcement officers as well as SRO trainings. Each day our officers strive to keep Harlan County Schools safe and provide an environment in which the educational process can take place. They work with school administrators to ensure a safe environment for students, staff, families, and visitors while on school property. We ask for your assistance in making us aware of anything that you see or hear that you believe may be a safety concern.

If you ever need any assistance, please do not hesitate to call. For more information, contact Matt Cope, Chief of Police/Safe Schools Coordinator at 573-4330 ext. 2019 or e-mail matt.cope@harlan.kyschools.us.

Among Our Duties

  • Enforce criminal laws based upon the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS).
  • Deter criminal and/or disruptive activities. The officer’s presence in school is a reminder and assurance of immediate response.
  • Provide positive role models and serve as mentors for students. Officers in uniform are in the schools every day, walking the halls, talking with students and establishing positive relationships that go beyond the geographical boundaries of the school and, in many instances, the students' graduation.
  • Train school staff in emergency preparedness.
  • Teach and participate in instructional activities.
  • Provide support at extracurricular activities such as athletic contests, proms, and graduations

Officer Introductions

Chief of Police Matt Cope - Chief Cope has served 21 years in law enforcement with 19 years of those as an officer. He has served as a police dispatcher, Kentucky Department of Parks Ranger, Sheriff’s Deputy, sergeant at Harlan Police Department and Chief Deputy for the Harlan County Sheriff’s Department. He has served as an adjunct professor at SKCTC, teaching criminal justice courses. He holds three associate degrees from Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Eastern Kentucky University. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Award by the Department of Criminal Justice. He holds numerous career development certificates awarded by the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council, including Intermediate Law Enforcement Officer, Advanced Law Enforcement Officer and Law Enforcement Executive. He is a member of the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police, Kentucky Peace Officers Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.

Officer Philip Ely – Officer Ely has eight years law enforcement experience, having worked as a deputy sheriff, school resource officer, and Cumberland police officer. He also is a certified special education teacher.

Officer Anthony Jenkins – Officer Jenkins has served as deputy sheriff, Cumberland police officer, a deputy jailer and a bailiff for Harlan Circuit Court.

Officer Jayson Howard – Officer Howard has extensive experience having served as a Harlan and Cumberland Police Officer, a deputy sheriff and a school resource officer.

Officer Danny Ball – Officer Ball has more than 20 years in law enforcement, having served as a deputy sheriff, Harlan police officer and a School Resource Officer.

Officer Chris Early - Officer Early has more than 30 years in law enforcement, having retired as Captain for Kentucky Department of Parks-Ranger Division.

Officer Anthony Jenkins - Officer Jenkins has five years law enforcement experience, having worked as a Harlan and Cumberland police Officer.

  • HCPS
    251 Ball Park Road
    Harlan, Ky 40831