● Published by J. Chambless
Kennett Township Police Chief Albert McCarthy, who retired from his position on May 7, was the recipient of a retirement ceremony at the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 20, before a packed house of well-wishers and law enforcement officials at the Kennett Township Building.
Kennett Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Scudder Stevens presented McCarthy with a police retirement badge, and credited him for helping the township establish its first police department, which McCarthy ran on his own from 2007, until he encouraged the township to hire officer Lydell Nolt in 2012 – who is now serving as acting police chief.
“[Chief McCarthy] educated hundreds and hundreds of children throughout the year, and many of these children who still call him today to ask for help and guidance,” Stevens said. “He was always firm, fair and consistent. You knew where you stood with him. He was a good listener and delegator. He followed the maxim, 'The best way to keep power is to share it, and the best way to influence is to listen.”
Stevens said that among the compliments he has heard about McCarthy is that he is the same person now as he was when he was first hired as a patrol officer in the Kennett Borough 42 years ago, a tenure that also included a long tenure as the Borough's police chief.
“[Chief McCarthy] wears his professional accomplishments with grace and honor,” Stevens said. “ Kennett Township is a better place to live, work and visit because of Chief McCarthy's efforts in creating and building our police department.”
Joined by several members of his family – several of whom are also in law enforcement – McCarthy addressed the audience. He began by giving credit to his wife, whom he called a great partner, great friend “and the mother of some exceptional children.” He also thanked his children for not questioning why he decided to move the family when they were younger, during a time of controversy he encountered while he was the police chief for the Kennett Borough.
“Even as adults, they never questioned that, and that's what you really call support.”
One recent Thursday morning, McCarthy said he was having coffee with his wife. “She said, 'What are you thinking?'” McCarthy said. “I said, 'It's done.' She ran into (Kennett Township Manager) Lisa (Moore) an hour later, and it was done.”
McCarthy gave credit to the Kennett Township supervisors he had worked with, his fellow officers, and Moore, and then began to tell a story about his father. McCarthy had just graduated from the state police academy a month earlier, and one night, while one patrol, he recorded seven arrests – four adults and three juveniles. He told his father about his evening, who simply returned a simple, 'Oh.' He questioned his father's response the next day.
“My father told me, 'I don't know too much about this police stuff, but I was thinking, those four arrests. They're criminals and you have to take them away, but those juveniles. What are you going to do with them once they get out? Maybe you can do something to help them.'”
McCarthy shared with the audience that he had recently reconnected with a young woman, who referred to herself as 'Chunky Tuna.” He had first met the woman years ago when she was a middle school student, when he saw that she was crying after being called “Chunky Tuna” by her classmates because of her weight problem.
“I told her [at the time], 'You haven't grown up yet. You have a pretty face. Study. Get yourself involved in every program, and if you need something, call me,'” McCarthy said. “She told me [recently] that she's getting her Master's degree next month. A couple of words and suggestions. I encourage everyone here to do the same, because you never know where a few words will go.”