The Huntington Chief of Police Karl Colder resigned abruptly Monday February 6th, 2023, the city announced. Around 10:30 a.m. Mayor Steve Williams informed to public of the Chief’s resignation from office after fifteen months, apparently due to family issues.       

“Mr. Colder indicated that he was resigning due to family matters,” Mayor Williams explained, “out of respect to him and his family, I will have no further comment.”   

Colder was a thirty year special agent for the Washington D.C. regional DEA, and came to Huntington in late November 2021 with a mandate to co-ordinate local, county, state and federal drug interdiction and organized crime enforcement efforts in Huntington.    

A new HPD chain of command was initiated when Chief Colder was put in place, when a new Deputy Chief position was formed in 2021, and long-time Huntington police detective Captain Phil Watkins was tapped for the new #2 spot at HPD.    

Deputy Chief Watkins immediately assumed full Chief of Police duties Monday, Williams said. Phil Watkins, a former HPD domestic and sexual crime investigating detective, and assistant commander of the crime investigation bureau, was considered a strong candidate for chief in 2021 when the Mayor and City Council officially changed Huntington law (and Watkins’ FOP union status) to appoint him Deputy Chief at the time of Colder’s being sworn in.    

Former Chief Colder is married with two adult children and the family had lived in Leesburg, Virginia before moving to Huntington.

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