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Kinsman police chief retires after 44 years

KINSMAN — After 44 years in law enforcement and nearly 30 with the Kinsman Police Department including as the police chief, Leroy Long will be retiring to devote his time to helping at Mosquito Lake State Park and Howland Township Park.

Township trustees on Monday praised Long for his service to the township and noted he is a well-known police chief throughout the county.

Long, 65, who attended his last trustees meeting, started part-time in Kinsman in the late 1980s and then became chief in January 1993.

“I think I am among the longest-serving chiefs in the area,” he said.

Long started his career at the Champion police department and then became a deputy at Trumbull County Sheriff’s Department before coming to Kinsman. He worked as a sergeant before becoming chief.

“My dad (Gene) was a police officer, and I saw what he did and wanted to do that also. I came to Kinsman Police Department and enjoyed it and stayed here,” Long said.

Long said he enjoyed serving the residents, noting how they take care of and look out for each other.

“The police have always had support from the community. It was stressful at times, but it was always rewarding working here.” Long said.

He said the police do a lot of community service by taking care of the local senior citizens, holding a Safety Forces Day for families at the park, delivering pizza to shut-ins and seniors on Christmas Eve, and raising money for Christmas gifts for children.

Long, of Howland, said in his retirement he will volunteer at the local parks. He and his wife, Jackie, are members of the Friends of Mosquito Lake State Park and got special needs playground equipment installed there this year.

Replacing Long is Shawn Rentz, who is serving as acting chief through the Oct. 12 trustee meeting when he will be sworn in as the new chief.

Rentz said he remembers when he first came to Kinsman after applying at more than 20 police departments for a job.

“In the county’s law enforcement community everyone knows Leroy. It doesn’t matter where you go, people know him. He is the reason I am standing here today. He is great to work with. I have learned so much about policing from him,” he said.

Trustee Greg Leonhard said Long was the one to create community policing.

“He always enjoyed delivering sometimes 80 pizzas in the police cruisers to senior citizens on Christmas Eve,” he said.

Leonhard said all the police levies on the ballot have been supported by the voters during Leroy’s time as chief.

“This man is not replaceable, and I am sure Shawn will agree with me,” he said.

Long said he appreciates the support the people gave to the police department.

Funds are being raised by the Friends of Kinsman group to construct a new garage building for the police vehicles.

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