Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In Kenyon: How a small town police chief connects via Facebook December 3, 2015

Kenyon's Boulevard of Roses cuts through Minnesota Highway 60.

Kenyon’s Boulevard of Roses cuts through Minnesota Highway 60. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

ABOUT 15 MILES TO THE EAST of Faribault lies the town of Kenyon. Other than roses planted along the boulevard of Minnesota State Highway 60, Kenyon appears your typical southern Minnesota farming community. Hardware store. VFW. Restaurants. Grocery store. Municipal swimming pool. Police station.

Kenyon, Minnesota, welcomes visitors to its recent Rose Fest.

Kenyon, Minnesota, welcomes visitors to its annual August Rose Fest. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

But look a little closer, online closer, and you discover that things operate a little differently in Kenyon. Specifically in the police department. Police Chief Lee Sjolander, according to a recent story in the Kenyon Leader, “highlights the positive, human side of law enforcement with Facebook.”

And that he does, so I confirmed after checking out the Kenyon (MN) Police Department Facebook page penned by the Chief. With introspective, encouraging and uplifting words, often mixed with humor, this policeman shows care and compassion for those in his community of around 1,800.

Don’t just take my word for it. Read the Chief’s thoughts on thankfulness, safe driving, the challenges of his job and more. Read his encouraging words to a commenter who feels like an outcast. Read how his department is helping those in need at its annual Garage of Goodness, a give-away event set for noon to 4:30 p.m. December 5.

View the photos and read the stories in the Chief’s “My hands, my story” series.

Laugh at the postings in his “Life with my teenage daughter” series.

Cats roam the farm and kids chase after them.

Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo used for illustration only (not photographed in Kenyon).

See how he cares for wandering dogs and cats in Kenyon.

His posts get hundreds of likes.

In a day when law enforcement officers are less and less appreciated, it’s refreshing to see the support given to the Kenyon Police Department, to read the words of a police chief who cares deeply and passionately for those he serves.

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Check back on Friday to read another story that originates in Kenyon.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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17 Responses to “In Kenyon: How a small town police chief connects via Facebook”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    This is great. Nicely done Police Chief Lee Sjolander.

  2. The true meaning of service, dedication and protection for the community he lives in and serves in – thanks so much for sharing – there is good and it needs to be respected as well as recognized 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    To truly understand what it means to serve in public safety, read the entry on Nov. 27.

    “I remember when I heard your last name. I asked who your relatives were, and when I heard, my heart sank. I’ve known some of your family for quite some time and did not want to be the person to tell them that you were gone. I was there when they were notified… It’s tough breaking somebody’s heart, but unfortunately it’s part of our job sometimes.”

  4. […] to Audrey Kletscher Helbling, who writes Minnesota Prairie Roots, we’re looking at a lot of hands […]

  5. Society needs more human beings like this in every profession

  6. Beth Ann Says:

    I continually say that Facebook can be used for a lot of different things and the good things like what the chief is doing with his page is a perfect example. Too many times we focus on the negative parts of social media but this is a refreshing example of the positive things that can come from it. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Sue Ready Says:

    What a nice article posting the merits of a Facebook page through police department. The chief sounds like quite a dedicated man to promoting service through his community.

  8. with all of the negativity and abuse being heaped upon the police these days, this is a fine and very positive step to show that the “cops” are people too. Nice job Chief.


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