Kenyon police chief is going to the White House

Lee Sjolander, the official police chief of NewsCut (there was no vote; I so declared by the power vested in me by the world wide web), was investigating a complaint of “squatting” the other day, he writes on his Facebook page, when he found this evidence.


While working on a different call for service this morning, I was alerted to a possible squatting situation here in our small town. I exited my squad, and found these two blankets and a water bottle in a storm shelter.

Being a small town, I believe I know who is staying in this shelter, and I have this to say…

I’m sorry that things appear to not be going well for you. Life is tough at times, and so much of what happens to us is based on the choices we make, and how we respond to those tough times. Like I’ve told you before, attitude is 90% of the game.

While my heart breaks for you, I have to tell you that you cannot stay here. The person in charge of this property has asked that you find somewhere else to stay. I wish I had options for you, but being a small town, you know how limited that is.

I can offer you this though… We have some food that was donated by our food shelve and you can certainly have that, and I do have some nicer blankets that you can have as well. It’s not much I know, but it’s better than nothing, and it might help you during this difficult time.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this. I certainly am not judging you, but I am letting you know that you’re responsible for your actions, and, it’s time for some life changes.

I don’t have your phone number, but I know that you follow our page, so I’m reaching out to you here. I’m on all day and if you need something, you know where to find me.

That’s the sort of typical outreach in Kenyon that can get a person noticed. His Facebook page is already tremendously popular, particularly among people who don’t live in his town.

And now he’s been noticed by a higher authority, he writes today.

He’s going to the White House.

I was sent an email asking if I was interested in attending a briefing at the White House. I first thought the email was a joke or some sort of scam because why on earth would a small town police chief be invited to something like that?

I put my investigative skills to work, and found this was legitimate. I filled out the RSVP and sent it back not expecting to hear anything.

I heard back…

I will have the honor of attending this briefing at the White House very soon and I have to say, it was not an easy decision for me to attend. Like a lot of people, I struggle with feeling worthy at times, and taking part in something like this involves a lot of people, and resources that I don’t feel entitled to. That being said, I spoke to some important people in my life and have decided to attend this. I wanted to take a moment, and thank some of those people here.

Mrs. Chief told me numerous times that I deserve to attend this. She said it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I should go to represent our city, our agency, and myself. Mr. Vahlsing, our city administrator, also said I should go. He even went as far as to run my itinerary for me and lined everything up. I’m very thankful for our City Hall staff. Mayor Engel gave me his blessing.

My coworkers assured me that they are more than capable of taking care of things while I’m gone. I wholeheartedly believe in them, and know that you will all be in good hands.

Pastor Hannah also reminded me that I am worthy. She reminded me that God doesn’t create anything halfheartedly, and if I’m worthy in his eyes, I should be worthy in my own.

I was asked to dress “business casual” for this event. “Business casual” to me means penguin pajama pants, and a Metallica, or some other band T-shirt most days. Mrs. Chief and I went shopping and I would like to thank Brian from Men’s Wearhouse in Rochester for helping me find appropriate attire for this important event.

I won’t be there very long, but hope to see some sights when I can. I love to see reminders of how much heart and soul has been put into building our great nation.

Stay safe,

The White House session will feature representatives of the nation’s police departments helping to brainstorm ideas about building public trust and confidence in the justice system.

What can the nation’s leaders learn from a small-town cop who has to struggle with what the law tells him he must do and what his heart tells him is right?


Archive: A police chief faces his PTSD (NewsCut)