Thetford Township officials have put their recently arrested police chief on administrative leave without pay.
Police Chief Robert Kenny was charged this week with embezzlement and obstruction of justice. He allegedly pocketed money as part of a scheme involving military surplus equipment. Kenny faces up to five years in prison on both counts if convicted.
The investigation into the small town police department’s use of millions of dollars of equipment obtained through a Pentagon program has deeply divided the community just north of Flint.
Resident Theo Gantos spoke for many at a special township meeting Friday afternoon. He urged the township board to relieve the police chief of his duties.
“I’ll trust you’ll do the correct thing and make the first step toward restoring accountability to the township,” Gantos told the board.
Chief Kenny also had supporters at the meeting, but they were less boisterous than during previous meetings.
Township Supervisor Gary Stevens’s voice cracked with emotion when asked about the effect the arrest is having on his community.
“A little tore up,” Stevens said as he struggled with his emotions after the meeting. “It’s been a long road.”
The road forward is also complicated by the sudden resignation of the township’s clerk.