thetford township | Michigan Radio

thetford township

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Criminal charges have been dismissed against a small town police chief.

Thetford Township Police Chief Robert Kenny had been facing embezzlement and obstruction of justice charges.

The charges were filed in 2018 after allegations arose that he cashed more than $5,000 in checks related to the sale of federal government surplus property he acquired for his police department.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Thetford Township will have to return its federal military surplus - if it can locate it - to the government, if there are no other police departments that want it.

That's after Thetford Township police chief Robert Kenny was arrested for allegedly embezzling from the program.  

Kenny acquired a large amount of federal military surplus since 2012 - nearly 4,000 items, with a retail value of $2.7 million. 

He was arrested in late August for allegedly pocketing the proceeds from selling some of it. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

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. 

Genessee County

Thetford Township police chief Robert Kenny, age 45, has been arraigned on charges of embezzling funds from the U.S. military surplus program, as well as obstruction of justice. 

The Thursday arraignment follows his arrest Wednesday night. He has been released on $30,000 bail.

Thetford Township

The Genesee County Sheriff's department has arrested Robert Kenny, Thetford Township's police chief, for allegedly embezzling from the U.S. military surplus program, and obstructing the investigation.

Thetford Township is a small agricultural community of about 7,000 people north of Flint. 

A map shows the location of MRAP vehicles and M16 firearms that have been obtained by local police departments in the state of Michigan.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

The 1033 program allows police departments in the United States to obtain surplus military equipment at no cost. 

Tracy Samilton / NPR

Thetford Township is a sleepy-looking community of about 7,000 people, retirees and farmers, mostly.  

It was voted third safest in Michigan in a recent survey by the Michigan Township Association. 

Even so, it has its own police department, made up of one part-time officer, one full-time officer, and one police chief.

But township trustee Stan Piechnik thinks the chief has spent more time acquiring military surplus than protecting the community.

Here's some of the surplus - where's the rest?

Thetford Township

A small town official says his police department has acquired more than a million dollars worth of excess military equipment – but no one seems to know where it all is.

Stan Piechnik is a trustee of Thetford Township, a community of about 7,000 people just north of Flint.

He says he's not sure why the police would need it in the first place.

"Statistically, we're the fourth safest municipality in the state," says Piechnik, "and that came from the Michigan Township Association."