After more than 20 years at the Scottsburg Police Department, Richey Barton retired and switched gears in his career to become a health facility administrator at Hickory Creek Healthcare. While many might consider the change extreme, to Barton, the switch from the assistant police chief to the administrator at a skilled nursing center is a natural progression.
“It’s kind of full circle,” Barton said. “I came back to a job where you serve others.”
It is full circle for Barton because his grandparents set the example for him. Before he was born, his grandparents opened the first long-term care facility in Scott County where the Moose Lodge is located today. Later, his grandfather became a deputy sheriff for the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.
“That’s what I grew up with,” Barton said reminiscing about seeing his grandfather work at the Scott County jail.
After graduating from Scottsburg High School in 1992, Barton decided to pursue a criminal justice degree from Vincennes University with hopes to begin working in law enforcement. In 1996, Barton started working at the Scottsburg Police Department as a dispatcher. The next year, he started his first year as a patrolman after completing the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.
“I went up through the ranks,” Barton said. “Our department is a good department. We’ve been a stable department because we’ve had the same mayor.”
Barton moved up from patrolman to sergeant to lieutenant to major and assistant police chief.
“I enjoyed teaching younger officers,” Barton said.
Two years ago, Barton finished his bachelor’s degree from Oakland City University, and he decided to change his career course toward the Indiana Administrator-In-Training program, a program that allows participants to earn their administrator’s license through intensive internship hours and passing a national and state licensing examinations. Barton was working full-time at Scottsburg Police Department while doing the AIT program hours.
“It was a long eight months,” Barton said.
Barton started his AIT program at Hickory Creek, where he worked part-time in the maintenance department since 2015. In 2016, Barton earned his administrator’s license, and by the end of 2016, the former administrator of Hickory Creek, who helped train Barton, was retiring. In 2017, Barton retired from the Scottsburg Police Department and became the administrator at Hickory Creek.
Barton’s transition into administrator of Hickory Creek has been helped by having a background in serving and protecting others, by having experience working in the maintenance department, and by being willing to do any job no matter how big or how small.
“You teach me how to do it, I can do it,” Barton said. “I lead by example. If you can lead, they will follow. […] In this job, you wear so many hats.”
By wearing so many hats — from the police officer’s to a hairnet to help to start a stove in the kitchen — Barton has a chance to interact with every employee and every resident at Hickory Creek. The close, home-like atmosphere of the facility helps foster these interactions.
“You’re actually serving 30 residents. […] I talk to every single employee each day. They appreciate how you take care of them,” Barton said.