By Scott Kent, Alexandria police chief
Hello all, as this is my first “In the Know” I thought that might be fitting to share a little about myself. My name is Scott Kent and I recently assumed the position of chief of police on Oct. 1 for the City of Alexandria, replacing Chief Richard Wyffels.
My story begins in West Fargo ND where I grew up, attended and graduated from high school. After graduation, I jumped across the river to attend Moorhead State University (Minnesota State University of Moorhead) and earned a degree in Criminal Justice. After my final spring semester in Moorhead, I attended Alexandria Technical Community College for the law enforcement skills program (10 weeks). A few months later, I married an amazing woman, Amy. In the mid to late 1990s, the job market was far different than is today. It was not uncommon that upwards of 100 eligible candidates were applying for one position.
The Wahpeton Police Department offered me my first chance at becoming a police officer. I served the community of Wahpeton for four years and was able to try investigations, teach in the schools and even be a bike officer.
In the fall of 1999, Amy and I planned an antiquing trip to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Our destination was Red Wing and our final stop on the trip before heading home was Alexandria. We had heard that downtown Alexandria was well known for its antique shops. We were in and out of shops for the better part of a day walking Broadway. There was one particular interaction that we had that is still as vivid today as it was 21 years ago. We were walking down the steps to a basement antique shop located on the east side of Broadway at the corner of Broadway/Sixth Avenue. We exchanged greetings with the clerk at the counter and she explained very kindly that she would be available if we needed help or had questions. With that I replied, “surely” to which she replied “My name is Shirley.” This exchange between us is not nearly as funny or meaningful to anyone other than the three of us at that moment, but my point is that it left us with a feeling that we wanted more. As we were leaving the downtown area headed for the interstate, Amy mentioned that Alexandria sure has a nice feel and seems like it might be a nice place to live. The year that followed our anniversary trip, we had our first daughter and I started looking for law enforcement positions in Minnesota. There were several jobs that looked promising, but they just didn’t feel like home and felt we would be moving again. Well, as luck would have it, Alexandria had a couple of police officer openings. I was fortunate enough to be given a chance. I started with the department in February of 2001.
My passion and desire early in my career was to be an investigator and had visions of becoming an agent with the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. That vision started to fade as we grew our family to three and I was able to experience different aspects and special assignments within the department. I cannot tell you exactly when it happened, but the feeling that we had in the fall of 1999 has only grown and the passion for this community is deeply rooted.
Not everyone has experienced Alexandria the same way my family and I have, not all stories are similar but as your police chief I am committed to leading 28 amazing women and men to serve the community of Alexandria to level of service that is beyond your expectations and leave every experience and interaction with a police officer as chance to have built a relationship.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Scott Kent is the Alexandria police chief. In the Know is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.