Archive for Wednesday, December 18, 2002

McKenna sworn in as new police chief

December 18, 2002

It's official. Baldwin City now has a new police chief.

Mike McKenna was sworn in as the town's newest police chief before the Baldwin City Council meeting Monday night.

McKenna, 56, a former Wichita police officer, was chosen from 50 applicants to fill the role left open at the Baldwin City Police Department after Steve Butell's resignation earlier this year.

"He's got a good, solid background," City Administrator Larry Paine said. "His background demonstrates leadership and the ability to get things done."

This is McKenna's first police chief position, but he has 29 years of law enforcement experience behind him. Not only was he an officer in Coffeyville for six years, he held many positions in the Wichita Police Department including patrol lieutenant, administrative lieutenant and lieutenant of a detective unit that dealt with serious crimes.

In his new position, McKenna will make a yearly salary of $55,000, just $300 more than Butell was making when he resigned.

McKenna will be in Baldwin the rest of this week orienting himself with the police department and the town, before going back to Wichita for the holidays. He will start full time on Jan. 2.

Sgt. Colleen Larson said the police department was preparing for McKenna's arrival.

"We're just trying to kind of get things ready and set up around here for him," Larson said.

The BCPD, she said, hopes the hiring of the police chief will be a new start for the department, which has seen its share of problems in the past year.

"We're looking forward to being able to move on," she said.

She would like to see the community be supportive of the new chief.

"I would hope the public would be accepting and would work with someone new even if he's not local," Larson said.

Which is why Paine will spend some time introducing McKenna to Baldwin residents.

"I'll be introducing him to a number of different groups throughout the transition period," he said. "We'll walk up and down the street together and I'll introduce Mike to people as the new police chief."

Paine said because the resume and interview committees, which were comprised of local people, designated so much time to filling the police chief vacancy, the right candidate was selected.

"By involving the people in the community, the rest of Baldwin can be rest assured that we looked for someone that fit the needs of the community," he said. "One can't help but believe Mike will be a very successful police chief.

"People are going to like what he does. They're going to like him as an individual," said Paine. "They're going to like him professionally."

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