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Kenton Whitebread Sr. retiring, but family carries on legacy of public service

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 6/26/19

Kenton Whitebread Sr. of Middletown, the Northwest Regional Police Department’s 2019 Officer of the Year, will retire in July after 29 years with the department.

His family, however, will …

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Kenton Whitebread Sr. retiring, but family carries on legacy of public service

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Kenton Whitebread Sr. of Middletown, the Northwest Regional Police Department’s 2019 Officer of the Year, will retire in July after 29 years with the department.

His family, however, will continue to serve the public. His son, Kenton Jr., became chief of the Middletown Volunteer Fire Company in 2017, a position he still holds today.

Now, a third Whitebread generation is making its presence known in the fire station on Adelia Street — Kenton Sr.’s grandson and Kenton’s Jr.’s son, Logan.

“He goes on fire calls, too. He is 6 years old. We start them early,” Kenton Sr. said.

It gives Whitebread great satisfaction that as he steps aside, the family tradition in public service will continue.

“Public safety is something I am very passionate about. I try to serve where I was needed, to make things the best I could make them,” Whitebread said. “Seeing the positive role model my son follows in that he now is having his son with him on calls, I think it is a very worthy tradition.”

Whitebread Sr. received his Officer of the Year award during a ceremony May 28.

Whitebread was nominated by his fellow officers, said Mark Mayberry, chief of the Northwest Regional force, which is based in Elizabethtown and covers a 48-square-mile area in northwest Lancaster County.

Mayberry called Whitebread a law enforcement professional and a mentor for the department’s younger officers.

“He has been our CPR, first aid, and AED (automated external defibrillator) instructor his entire career,” Mayberry said in an email to the Press & Journal.

He also handles multiple other responsibilities for the department, including being the forensic technician and fingerprint examiner, taking care of public relations events, and much more, Mayberry said.

Born and raised in Harrisburg, Whitebread has been involved in public safety since he was 16 years old, when he started with the Londonderry and Middletown volunteer fire departments.

His first job in policing was part-time with the Middletown Police Department in 1988. He also worked as a dispatcher in the former Middletown communications center from 1985 to 1990.

He started full-time with the West Donegal Township Police Department in 1990. In October 2003, West Donegal and Mount Joy townships formed the Northwest Regional force.

All this time, Whitebread remained active as a volunteer firefighter. He was a member of the Middletown Volunteer Fire Company from 1979 until 2015. He was an assistant chief from 1998 to 2012 and the chief from 2012 to 2014.

Whitebread was also appointed to Middletown Borough Council. He served until the end of 2007, when he said his duties as a full-time police officer had become too demanding to continue. He also chaired the borough’s zoning hearing board for a period.

Whitebread’s son, Kenton Jr., grew up in the Middletown fire department.

“From a very, very early age I took him on fire calls with me,” Kenton Sr. said. “I’d take him up, put him in the engine, and the driver would keep an eye on him while I would do what I needed to do. When he turned 14, I was his first fire chief.”

Like his dad, Kenton Jr. also became certified as an emergency medical technician so he can run on an ambulance. Kenton Jr.’s wife Amanda is also an EMT who runs fire calls and works for the emergency medical service in Halifax.

Kenton Sr.’s wife, the former Denise Murray, also has firefighting roots. She is the daughter of the first fire chief  Kenton Sr. served under in Londonderry Township back in 1973.

The elder Whitebread is still involved in the Middletown company, but he doesn’t go out on runs anymore.

His last day at the Northern Regional police force will be July 1. He’s looking forward to doing some projects around the house, a little more camping, and spending some more time with his grandson.