Medina police chief to retire in June

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 March 2023 at 8:51 am

Chad Kenward has led department past 7 ½ years

Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward

MEDINA – Chad Kenward will retire as Medina’s police chief on June 9, ending a 20-year career with his hometown police department. Kenward started as police chief in December 2015 and has led the department for about 7 ½ years.

He started his law enforcement career in 1996 as a corrections officer in the Orleans County jail, and then was a deputy with the Sheriff’s Department before joining the Medina PD. While at Medina he was also a member of the Orleans County Multi-Agency SWAT Team.

“I’ve made a lot of great friendships and working relationships,” Kenward said about his career.

He worked eight of his years with the Medina PD as a school resource officer. He will return to that role for about a month before he retires. Medina is losing two full-time officers, Richard Messmer and Jacob Zangerle, who are transferring to other departments.

Medina currently has three new hires in the police academy but they aren’t ready to join the department yet for patrols.

The department will have the current SRO Dustin Meredith shift to the night shift from April 11 to May 5 while Kenward works as the school resource officer and also handles the duties as police chief. The last month he is police chief, he will use up his vacation time.

Kenward said keeping the department fully staffed has been a challenge, with many officer often moving to larger law enforcement agencies that offer higher pay and benefits.

He was praised by Mayor Mike Sidari for his professionalism and commitment to Medina.

“He is definitely a community-oriented police chief,” Sidari said after Monday’s Village Board meeting. “He has brought the department up to state standards. He has the respect of the officer, Village Board members and the residents.”

Village Trustee Jess Marciano has served on a 12-member Police Advisory Committee with Kenward for about two years. The group reviews police policies and solicits input from residents. Some of the members have gone on ride-a-longs with officers.

Marciano said she is impressed with Kenward and his concern for the community.

“He is a residents’ police chief,” she said. “It’s not the police versus the residents.”

Kenward led the department in having body cameras to be worn by all officers, and also increased training for responding to people in a mental health crisis.

Mayor Sidari said the Village Board is discussing the process for choosing Kenward’s successor, whether Medina will hire from within or do a bigger search. Todd Draper, the department’s lieutenant, has already passed the police chief’s exam, Sidari said.

Fire photo: Medina Police Chief Chad Kenward helps students navigate through a course while wearing goggles to simulate being impaired in this photo from May 2019. Lt. Todd Draper is second from left. The effort was an outreach to show high school students the impact on poor decision making with alcohol and drugs.