By Charlotte Kovalchuk
Homegrown police chief takes law enforcement helm
Jarrell area native Kevin Denney has received a warm welcome home since becoming the city’s new police chief August 24, following a 28-year law enforcement career outside of town.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to be back in the area where I grew up, and to be part of the growth of Jarrell, helping to shape the growth and provide safety and security for the community,” Chief Denney said.
A former police chief for Red Oak ISD and law enforcement supervisor for Irving, Chief Denney found his way back to his hometown after coming across its open police chief position and discovering that Jarrell isn’t the sleepy little community he remembered it as 30 years ago. He is excited about keeping the town safe as it continues to grow.
Chief Denney plans to use his experience with a large municipality and school district to enact new programs like the women’s self-defense class he started in Red Oak as well as mentorship and youth relationship building programs. He also wants to focus on engaging with residents and businesses and listening to their concerns and ideas.
So far, those goals have been successful – Chief Denney described the tremendous support he and his seven officers have received from the Jarrell community since day one. The law enforcement team returned that support during National Night Out October 6 by hosting a socially distanced drive-in movie in the Brookshire Brothers parking lot. National Night Out is a nationwide campaign that promotes police-community relationships. As of mid-September, the fundraiser had raised $10,000 for the Jarrell Police Association and Blue Santa.
It was important to the police department to continue the National Night Out tradition, despite COVID-19.
“We want to show the community that we’re trying to be as normal as we can, that we can still go on with life,” Chief Denney said.
He and his team are still adjusting to the New Normal, just like everyone else, he added. It’s a difficult balancing act – keeping officers safe while engaging with citizens, but they’re doing it, safely of course with masks and social distancing.
When he’s not wearing his badge, Chief Denney enjoys spending time with his wife and five children – with a sixth expected in October – researching at-risk and marginalized student issues, interacting with people in the community, training for triathlons and working outside. He holds two master’s degrees in criminal justice and public administration from Tarleton State University and is pursuing a PhD in criminal justice.