SMYRNA, Tenn. (WKRN) —After more than 30 years of service, one Middle Tennessee police chief is hanging up his badge.
Police Chief Kevin Arnold announced his retirement from the Smyrna Police Department earlier this week.
Arnold began his career in law enforcement as an officer for the Middle Tennessee State University Police Department after he graduated from the university with a degree in criminal justice.
“I started off as the library guard,” he said. “So every night my job was to walk the librarians out to their car and kind of maintain a sense of peace and quietness in the library.
In 1982, he began working for the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office where he served for seven years.
Arnold then joined on with the Smyrna Police Department as a patrol officer in 1989.
“I worked my way up through the ranks and then was very fortunate enough that in 2007 I became their chief,” he said.
Arnold served as chief for the last 15 years until he decided it was time to retire.
“It has been a difficult decision,” he said. “My wife and I have been in discussion about it probably for the last two months or so.”
Arnold says despite challenges, working as the city’s chief has been a great job and he’s proud of his officers and how they’ve been able to keep crime at bay in Smyrna.
“There’s no neighborhood, no street, no apartment complex that I would not take my 3-year-old grandson and hold him by the hand and walk through that area without a gun on my side,” he said. “That’s because of the quality and the character of the town of Smyrna.”
Arnold will serve as chief until September, but is confident knowing the department will move in a positive direction once he leaves.
“Just due to the individuals that we have here, the town of Smyrna is very blessed to have a very good police department, and I feel like I’m leaving it in very good hands,” he said.
As for what’s next? Well, Arnold says he plans to get a part time job, but he’s looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren and nephew.
“He’s a big baseball fan and so am I,” he said. “So occasionally we’ll drive up to St. Louis to see my Cardinals play.”