Brentwood Police Chief Jeff Hughes to retire next month after 9 years on job

Brentwood Police Chief Jeff Hughes was photographed Jan. 24 in the Brentwood City Commission session chambers. Hughes will retire Feb. 25 after 36 years with the department. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)
Brentwood Police Chief Jeff Hughes was photographed Jan. 24 in the Brentwood City Commission session chambers. Hughes will retire Feb. 25 after 36 years with the department. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)

Brentwood Police Chief Jeff Hughes was photographed Jan. 24 in the Brentwood City Commission session chambers. Hughes will retire Feb. 25 after 36 years with the department. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)

After nine years in the top job, Brentwood Police Department Chief Jeff Hughes will retire on Feb. 25.

The city of Brentwood announced Hughes' official retirement date Jan. 24. In total, Hughes has served 36 years with the department.

Hughes joined the department Feb. 1, 1986, as a patrol officer after three years with the nearby Fairview Police Department. He first served as an emergency dispatcher and then police officer.

After serving in the force's patrol division, he worked as a detective in the Criminal Investigations Division from 1990 until 2000, then he became lieutenant and advanced to assistant chief before his promotion to chief in 2012.

Hughes is the third chief in the history of the Brentwood department, which was created in 1971.


Brentwood Mayor Rhea Little expressed gratitude to Hughes for his long service and his contributions as a leader.

“I’m thankful Chief Hughes will be enjoying his retirement, and we’re also putting someone into the role who is very well trained and acclimated to serving Brentwood in the position,” Little said in the city's announcement.

During a conversation Jan. 24, Hughes highlighted growing the department to include 67 sworn officers; refining professional standards for leadership and management in the department; and opening a new $29 million state-of-the-art police headquarters last April as some key events of his tenure.

The city’s population growth has guided his leadership, Hughes said. The city’s population grew from 37,000 to 45,000 people between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. census.

“There has been a tremendous change in the growth of the city, whether it be the population or business growth,” Hughes said. “We’ve been fortunate to be consistently ranked as one of the safer cities in Tennessee if not the country. We take great pride in that.”

Hughes praised his department’s staff and the town for a cooperative atmosphere, which helped him accomplish goals such as implementing new training programs and adding facilities, including a firing range, a defensive tactics room and a firearms training simulator that lets officers practice de-escalation tactics to avoid using deadly force if possible.

“I think it is important that you don’t stay too long in any position, and I feel like we’ve been able to accomplish a lot of goals collectively, not necessarily because of me, but because of our staff, city manager, commissioners and citizens in their support of the things we try to accomplish,” Hughes said.

To replace Hughes, town leaders will swear in Assistant Chief Richard Hickey as the new chief at their regular Feb. 28 Brentwood City Commission meeting. Hickey was appointed assistant chief in 2021, having worked his way through the department’s three divisions of patrol, criminal investigations and administration over a 30-year career.

Hickey said Hughes’ best leadership characteristics are openness to other points of view and responsiveness to new ideas and different approaches.

“He has always been professional in his approach but still down to earth,” Hickey said in the announcement issued by the city. “We have high standards for ourselves and how we approach our job, and while the circumstances in which we work may change, our standards do not.”

Hughes additionally recalled his time as a detective fondly, including his participation in solving the 1986 killing of a Kwik Sak sales clerk, which was solved in February 1994.

“I was heavily involved in many major investigations at the police department, and I had the opportunity to work on and help prosecute those cases,” Hughes said.
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