Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden added four reserve officers this week, beginning with a swearing in and badge pinning on Monday night and speaking at the graduation event for some of them Thursday night.
Those added to the Men In Black were, Timothy “T.J.” Knox, James Palmer, Eric Prado, and Gary “Paco” Clendennen.
Knox is the owner of EMC Towing and Constable Hayden said Knox demonstrated his commitment to his new position with the Constable’s Office by vowing not to allow his wreckers to tow vehicles from Precinct 4 scenes when he is involved, even if it is a rotation tow and their turn. The decision will undoubtedly cost Knox, and sometimes dearly, but he hopes it will avoid any accusations of favoritism.
Clendennen has spent his career in law enforcement and is the former Madisonville Police Chief. He is also the father of DPS Trooper Ryan Clendennen and Sgt. Buck Clendennen of the Pct. 4 Constable’s Office.
Hayden said he was proud to bring all four onboard and looked forward to working with them.
The badge pinning ceremony was held in the courtroom of Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts, where family, friends and fellow officers gathered to watch the long awaited moment.
Constable Hayden was chosen to speak Thursday night by the graduating class of the Lone Star College Police Academy, where he also graduated in 1992 when he became a deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Hayden told the assembly he was honored to be there and then imparted some words of wisdom from his years in law enforcement. He told them he started his career with the MCSO as a jailer in 1991, when he was only 19 years old. .
“I started at the bottom and worked my way up, learning every aspect of the job along the way. I encourage you to do the same,” Hayden said.
He said it was important to gain all the knowledge possible at each level as they moved their way up in rank.
The Constable emphasized three other points, with the next being a warning about the traumatic things they would see.
“You’ll see the darkest side of human nature,” Hayden said. “You’ll see people whose lives were cut short by someone else, and sometimes, there will be children involved.”
“Those times are the most difficult, especially when you then have to look into a parent’s eyes and tell them that their child is never coming home, “he said. “There’s no delete button or switch you can turn off and get those moments out of your head.”
“Those are the times when your family is so important to you.”
He told them not to hold those things inside, to talk to their loved ones and “the God who got (them) home safely.”
Hayden then reminded them to always treat others as they would like to be treated. He told them being a police officer is “a tremendous responsibility” and they should always remember the job is “not about having control or power over others.”
Hayden then quoted Clint Eastwood, the actor who played his favorite movie cop.
Eastwood is credited with saying, “Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.”
He also said, “It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people’s lives.”
He then drew are hearty laugh by using a couple of quotes from Eastwood’s most famous role of Detective Harry Callahan, but ended on a serious note.
“And, lastly,” Hayden said, “The most important thing you can do as a police officer is at the end of your shift make it home safely to your family.”