EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Pct. 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden presented a $500 scholarship at Splendora High School on Wednesday in honor of his father, former Constable Charles Hayden.
The recipient of the scholarship, 17-year-old Rebeccah Rosebush of Cleveland, accepted the check with her proud grandmother, Patricia Franklin by her side. Rebeccah’s parents, David and Zonia Rosebush were unable to attend.
Rebeccah has attended school in Splendora I.S.D. since first grade and will major in Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University. She hopes to eventually land a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and work in the area of accounting fraud.
Rebeccah was one of only four greater Harris County area students who earned the Teen Community Emergency Response Team (Teen CERT) Scholarship, and the only winner from Montgomery County. At the annual Texas State Criminal Justice Quiz Bowl, Rebeccah took first place. She also received scholarships from Balfour, Eastern Star and the East Montgomery County Improvement District.
The teen said she first became interested in criminal justice when she rode in her uncle’s Ellis County Sheriff’s Office patrol car, but she decided to make it her career after participating in her school’s criminal justice program. The Pct. 4 Constable’s Office was able to interact with students in the program when they assisted SHS with some mock law enforcement scenarios this year.
“These are good kids and we’d like to see them go into the field of criminal justice as adults,” Constable Hayden said. “We’re glad to be a part of that.”
The scholarship was funded through donations and t-shirt sales after the Constable talked with Splendora High School principal Dale Martin, who said there were few scholarships for those interested in careers in law enforcement.
Pct. 4 Chief Deputy Barry Welch said “Constable Hayden is leading the way by contributing a scholarship that promotes criminal justice.”
The Constable’s father, former Montgomery County Constable Charles Hayden, said he was surprised to learn of the scholarship his son created.
“It’s such an honor to have a scholarship in my name,” Charles Hayden said. “I’ve worked hard all my life to encourage young people to go to college and get an education.”
Mr. Hayden is extremely proud of his family, but especially of his son the Constable, who followed in his footsteps.
One of his grandsons, Jerry Lee Guion, is a deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Mr. Hayden says three others are considering careers in law enforcement. His granddaughter, Shanna Redwine, is currently in law school pursuing her degree and working as an intern for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office. Ms. Redwine hopes to become a Montgomery County prosecutor after passing the Bar Exam. His son-in-law is also in law enforcement.
Charles Hayden began his law enforcement career in 1959 at age 18, when he became a volunteer dispatcher under Montgomery County Sheriff Gene Reeves. In 1966, Mr. Hayden was elected Justice of the Peace. He previously applied for a position with the Texas Liquor Control Board (became the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in 1970) and about six months after becoming a judge, Mr. Hayden received a letter of acceptance from that agency and went to work for the state. He also worked as a detective for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Hayden was later elected to the office his son now holds, Pct. 4 Constable, where he served two terms, but his public service did not end there. He went on to serve as Pct. 4 County Commissioner, before his cardiologist advised him to give up the position because of stress.
With around 40 years of law enforcement experience, Mr. Hayden has seen just about everything. He enforced state liquor laws, patrolled the streets of Montgomery County, and investigated burglaries, thefts and homicides. Having also been a judge and a commissioner, Mr. Hayden gained a unique perspective on criminal justice and service to the community.
“I try my best to get every kid to pursue a career in law enforcement– there are so many areas of law enforcement you can go into,” Mr. Hayden said. “We need to get more young people interested, because they’ll be the ones who have to deal with it.”
Mr. Hayden had no trouble convincing his son, who is now Pct. 4 Constable to become a police officer. At age 19, Constable Hayden went to work for then Sheriff Joe Corley and has been in law enforcement ever since, leaving the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office when he became Constable in 2009.
“I’m very proud of the work he’s doing in the community and in law enforcement,” Mr. Hayden said of his son.
Wednesday marked the first time Constable Hayden awarded the scholarship in honor of his father, and he hopes to present at least two scholarships next year which will be awarded to the winners of an essay contest open to every graduating criminal justice student in Precinct 4.