Interim police chief starts Monday in Carnegie

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There will be a changing of the guard at 7:30 p.m. Monday when Carnegie officials welcome Sgt. Jeffrey L. Kennedy as interim police chief to succeed Jeffrey Harbin, 59, who is retiring June 28 after serving as chief since 1992.

Sgt. Kennedy, 52, whose promotion was approved earlier this month, will be sworn in Monday night. He will serve as interim head of the police department until Chief Harbin's retirement becomes effective on Aug. 9.

Sgt. Kennedy was a policeman in Edgewood for four years before joining Carnegie's police force in 1988.

"Being a cop is just something I always wanted to do," he said. "Every day is different. There are no two days alike."

After graduating from Edgewood High School, he went to Community College of Allegheny County before being hired as an Edgewood officer.

He received his police certification from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Training Center, where he was valedictorian of his class.

He joined Carnegie's force after learning there was an opening from an academy friend, Scott police Officer Bob Zimmerman, who ranked No. 2 in the same class. Carnegie promoted him to sergeant in 1995. In 2000, he attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., which he calls "the best leadership training you can get."

Sgt. Kennedy said he isn't planning any major changes right now, but hopes to get the police more involved with the town.

"I want more interaction with the police in the community [so] the public would get to know us not just as police officers, but personally," he said.

One way he hopes to do that is to involve the police in charity sports events, such as basketball games, where proceeds would be donated to charities.

His relationship with the 12-member force is strong. Earlier this week he started working at 4 a.m. one day so that another officer wouldn't have to work six days in a row.

In his view, one of Carnegie's biggest problems is its diversity, which is also an asset.

"It's actually three or four different towns in one 1.2-square-mile community. There's such a variety of classes of people and they all look at the police in a different way," he said.

Sgt. Kennedy lives in Mt. Lebanon with his wife, Jen, and their sons: Jacob, 15, Cameron, 13, and Toby, 8.

He is involved in community service work, such as coaching sports teams and said, "You can't tell who's my kid. I treat everyone the same." His mother, Joanne, still lives in Edgewood.

neigh_west

Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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