Longtime East Texas police chief retires after 42 years of service to his community

Longtime East Texas police chief retires after 42 years of service to his community
Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 6:44 PM CST
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HUGHES SPRINGS, Texas (KLTV) - A small East Texas town sees the end of an era with the retirement of their longtime police chief.

For over 40 years Randy Kennedy has been serving his community, the last 26 as the chief of police in the city of Hughes Springs. Instead of a standard retirement observance, the community decided to give him a different kind of ‘thank you’ for his service.

Citizens have likened Chief Kennedy to a real life Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry, with a signature cowboy hat, homespun charm and a quiet, friendly demeanor.

“My nature, in the way I treat people, talk to people and come across in my dealings with them everyday,” the chief says.

Reasoning with people has been his greatest skill; he is well known for his ability to talk people out of dangerous situations.

“I simply talk to them. ‘I don’t want you to do this. Please don’t do this.’ The way you’re able to communicate with people, talk with people,” Kennedy says.

Retiring after 42 years now, one of his last official acts was attending an emergency drill today. But this was no drill. Unknown to Kennedy, the helicopter flight in, began the city’s ‘thank you’ for his service.

Kennedy’s daughter, an EMT, was on the flight and honored her father for his service, along with friends and citizens who attended.

In the great scheme of things, it’s just a small town in America showing appreciation.

But for Kennedy, it was a day he’ll never forget.

“It’s bittersweet. Went by awfully fast. It’s time though, it’s time,” he says.

In the history of the Hughes Springs police department, formed in 1980, there have only been two chiefs. Randy Kennedy, and before him, his father Emit Kennedy.