Outgoing chief earns recognition from council, Community Watch

May. 24, 2013 @ 04:55 PM

Henderson’s chief of police received the thanks of the city and fellow crime-fighting citizens in separate recognitions this week.

Keith Sidwell, who has announced his retirement effective next Friday, received his badge and sidearm (sold by state statute for one dollar) on Monday. At a Thursday evening gathering of the Henderson-Vance Community Watch Association, he received the gift of a stylized clock.

Sidwell came to Henderson in January 2007 after having retired with 25 years service in Virginia.

Sidwell said he is much more acclimated to giving out praise than he is receiving it.

“I don’t do this very well,” he told Thursday’s gathering. “It is easier for me to present awards.”

In comments to the Daily Dispatch, he said that while it is customary for localities to render to a retiring law enforcement officer their badge and service weapon, it was still surprising to him when Henderson city council leaders did so for him on Monday.

“I was not expecting it,” he said. “It was a very heart-felt gesture, and I am very grateful.”

Sidwell explained that he sees his department as the achievers in the cause to bring crime numbers down over the past three years. He said he has highlighted and praised what they have done in order to keep that momentum moving forward. For the spotlight to shift to him was just awkward.

“My job is to serve. It is not about recognition, that’s not why you do it,” Sidwell said.

For the Community Watch volunteers, Sidwell said that he could put his perspective of 31 years in law enforcement on the Henderson Police Department, putting the department up for comparison against any law enforcement agency in the country.

“I present that the Henderson police are the best of the best,” Sidwell said. “My hopes and my prayers for Henderson is for our families to come together. Everyone in this community can make a difference.”

The award authorization by city council members on Monday was granted by acclamation, noting that the departmental badge and Glock Model 22 .40 caliber were surplus to be given with gratitude to Sidwell.

The resolution noted the city’s official thanks to Sidwell for his years of excellent leadership and service, wishing him well in the future.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.