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Retired Kinsman police chief leads Friends of Mosquito Lake State Park

Staff photo / Bob Coupland Retired Kinsman police Chief Leroy Long dedicates his time six months of the year helping in various ways at Mosquito Lake State Park in Bazetta.

BAZETTA — After retiring last year as Kinsman’s police chief, Leroy Long now dedicates much of his time volunteering at Mosquito Lake State Park as a marina host for six months.

From mid-April to mid-October, Long stays in a camper at the park and often can be seen driving around in a golf cart checking on things.

“I drive in the golf cart down to the docks and check the boats, and if I find an issue, I call the park ranger or manager. Sometimes when there are heavy rains a boat may be sinking,” Long said.

Long, 66, of Howland, has volunteered at the park for the past six years.

Long retired after 44 years in law enforcement, 30 of which were as the Kinsman chief.

“I was doing this when I was chief and also when I was working at the jail for the county,” he said. “I provide an extra set of eyes and ears for the park. I like being able to be here and help the park and complete projects.”

Long, along with 14 other members of the Friends of Mosquito Lake State Park, helped raise funds to get a new $7,000 handicapped-accessible swing set installed at the playground by the beach. Long serves as president of the Friends group and previously served as the treasurer.

He also oversaw a shed constructed by a local Scout for his Eagle Scout project that the Friends use for storing supplies. The group stays busy holding an annual Halloween event and flea market at the park.

The Friends’ new project is raising funds to redo the campground amphitheater by building a bigger screen and a small pavilion over it to allow for the movie and projector to be protected from the rain.

Long also helps at the Friday BB gun and archery shoots and also shows movies on some weekends to the children camping. He assists park naturalist Mike Mainard with activities at the campgrounds.

“I help him when needed. There are boats here 24 hours a day with people going out on boats to watch fireworks or people setting off fireworks nearby. People like to fish at night,” he said.

Long said he has seen large pike, crappie and walleye caught by people.

Long gets up 5:30 a.m. to check the boats and then leaves at 6 a.m. to work at the Eastern District Court four days per week.

Long oversees community service workers from the Eastern District Court who are building benches, putting siding on the shed and helping wire the shed.

“This is enjoyable getting to see all the people, but it has been a hot summer,” Long said.

Long worked as a sheriff’s deputy before becoming the Kinsman police chief. He became Champion’s first full-time police officer in 1976. He also worked part-time a few years for Bazetta police and also with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office. Long also did security for Wells Fargo.

Long said his father, Gene, encouraged him to go into law enforcement as he was a special deputy for the sheriff’s department.

“I just enjoyed being a police officer and doing the police work,” he said.

Long said he wants to spend time seeing his daughter Michele, who is a teacher in Florida, and his son, David, who lives in Niles and works at AVI.

Long also goes fishing and deer hunting with his son in West Virginia, Kinsman and Fowler.

Long worked at Copperweld for 22 years while also serving as Kinsman police chief.

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