St. C. Transition

THE ADAGE goes: “There is a new sheriff in town.” Well, in St. Clairsville, there is a new police chief in town.

While in many communities that may be a frequent occurrence, in St. Clairsville it is a story of landmark proportions. The hilltop community ushered in a new police chief for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Martin Kendzora is the reason for such continuity. He superbly enforced the laws of the city for 39 years as police chief before announcing his retirement this spring, ending 49 years of duty on the St. C. police force. He brought stability, expertise and a personal touch to the position.

The changing of the guard played out at a special St. Clairsville City Council meeting Monday. At that time, Kendzora surrendered his title to a familiar face.

Jeff Henry is a longtime member of the St. Clairsville police force. His promotion to chief triggers a seamless transition. Being the most senior veteran of the department, Henry has worked closely and at length with Kendzora, learning the ropes from a masterful teacher.

Henry is a capable and well-trained successor for Kendzora, paying his dues with years of dedicated and passionate duty to the city. He vows to stay the course deftly navigated by Kendzora.

Henry’s biggest challenge may be the one faced by most — if not all — local police departments: that being a tight budget.

The new police chief notes, “You have to do more with less. That’s what we’re going to have to do and continue to keep the services the way they are. A 24-hour department with a 24-hour dispatch,” he said. “We’re working at the bare bones.”

We wish Henry well in replacing a local law enforcement icon. We feel he comes well groomed for the task at hand.