Opinion Editorial

A new era for Southwick

Congratulations to Southwick Police Chief Kevin Bishop on his retirement, and congratulations to new Chief Robert Landis.

I have had the pleasure to cover the Southwick Police for the past 10 years, on and off, and am very happy for both of them and for the Town of Southwick.

I have covered Southwick under three police chiefs – Mark Krynicki, Dave Ricardi and Kevin Bishop. And while I enjoyed good relationships with all three, there is something special about Chief Bishop. Even before he was chief, he was always willing to talk to the press. He wanted people to know about the great things happening within the Southwick Police Department, but he knew that meant sometimes my questions would be about things that were difficult. There may be tough questions, there may be things they didn’t really want to share, but he knew there was a give-and-take to police and press relations.

From day one of his three years as chief, Kevin was open and honest. He called me back and often called me first when there was something to report. Whether it was an officer receiving an award or a search for a missing person, Kevin did not shy away from the press. He touted the good things and never swept anything under a rug. He encouraged his lieutenant and sergeants to talk to me – and other media – because it was another way to connect with the community. And anyone who knows Kevin knows his community is his priority, right after God and family.

Kevin is humble and human. I have seen him tear up on more than one occasion over the years and I have seen him laugh more times than I could ever count. He is always willing to lend a helping hand, whether it’s delivering a meal to someone in need, giving a ride to someone in need or just talking to someone in need, Kevin is always there – especially if the person in need needs a witty comment. When I interviewed him for the last time as chief, one of the things he talked about was his wife, Carol, and daughter, Jess. He said that between his commitment to the community as a police officer and his commitment to at-risk youth through his Team Justice motocross team, Carol and Jess sacrificed a lot. He said his wife shared him and his time with Southwick, and for that he was very grateful. Jess shared time with him on the race track and took his lead by becoming a first responder. Jess had the honor – in her words – of making his last dispatch call on his last day. I stood next to Kevin while Jess spoke through the radio about his career and her thoughts on him as her dad, and once again I swear I saw a few tears in his eyes. Kevin and Carol are taking a well-deserved trip, and once again, anyone who knows Kevin, knows Southwick has not seen the last of him.

Chief Landis has big shoes to fill, but luckily, has some big feet of his own. Congratulations to you both!

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