Sean Kennedy and Konetta Brown approached the front of the room, filled with friends, family and citizens, dreary-eyed but smiling as they were sworn in as the two newest members of the Greenbelt Police Department (GPD) at the beginning of the city council meeting Monday night.
Brown and Kennedy both have close ties to the Greenbelt community, which were major pluses, according to Police Chief James Craze.
“It means everything to me,” said Brown, who has worked with the GPD since 2008. “I’ve always wanted to serve the community and give back.”
Brown, who was born in Washington, D.C., moved to Greenbelt in 2008 when she took a job working in the communications department of the GPD. She then switched to the crisis negotiations department before enrolling in the police academy.
Kennedy, a lifelong Greenbelt resident, said he always had a career in law enforcement in the back of his mind. He recently graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Criminology this past spring.
“This is a dream come true,” Kennedy said.
Councilmember Silke Pope, who has known Kennedy since he was a young boy, said she was proud of both of the new hires and that she couldn’t think of a better fit than Kennedy, a lifelong resident.
“The understanding of the people and how Greenbelt works will definitely help him with interacting with residents and younger kids even,” Pope said.
The duo competed with over 300 other people for the positions, Craze said.
“They were the cream of the crop and rose to the top,” he said. “We’re very happy to have these two young people bring a sense of community to the department.”
Brown and Kennedy’s close relationships with Greenbelt allow them to understand the communal feel of the area in a way an outsider could not, he continued.
Craze also commended the pair for their ability to get themselves cleaned up and make the meeting, after being tear-gassed earlier in the day.
Brown and Kennedy will graduate from the police academy on Thursday and are expected to be working by the weekend, Craze said.
During the meeting, the council passed a resolution to hire A. Morton Thomas and Associates Inc., for $28,450, to assess the health of the forest preserve by a vote of 6-1, with Councilmember Rodney Roberts voting against the resolution. Roberts’ disagreement stemmed from his desire to have the assessment performed by an environmental scientist rather than an engineering firm, such as AMT.
The group also voted to unanimously pass a resolution hiring the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation in order to develop a plan to help local businesses. The Hyattsville Community Development Corporation will be paid $33,000 by the city for their services.
Additionally, the council awarded $179,628.16 to the GPD for the purchase of seven new vehicles. The GPD was recently given the Gold Standard award by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement. There are less than 100 Gold Standard accredited police departments, according to Craze.