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Millington welcomes new chief of police, Tennant already making impression on department

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Millington Police Chief Frank Tennant

Millington Police Chief Frank Tennant

Chief Frank Tennant 3 Chief Frank Tennant 1

Being a grandfather and resident of Millington are a couple of new things in Frank Tennant’s life, but fighting crime and running a police force is second nature.
Earlier this year Tennant become a grandparent along with his wife Cynthia. And in August the couple moved to Flag City with Frank taking over the duties as Millington Police Chief on Aug. 11.
The father of Kathryn, 30, and Brandon, 29, wanted to find a midway point between his two children who call Owensboro, Ky., and Nashville home respectively.
“I started looking for opportunities in Western Kentucky and Western Tennessee,” Tennant recalled. “I was searching on the Internet and saw where Millington was looking for a police chief.”
Tennant felt he was the man for the job in Millington after 22 years of moving up the ranks in Owensboro from foot beat to retiring as chief of detectives. Then Tennant returned to law enforcement in March 2014 as Chief of Police in Herman, Mo., for a nearly 11-year stay.
“I’d come down a couple of times and met with the City Manager (Christopher Dorsey) and the Mayor (Terry Jones) in the interview process,” he said. “I was ecstatic when they offered me the job. I had narrowed down my search. I had narrowed it down to three cities in Western and Central Tennessee.
“Millington was at the top of my list,” Tennant continued. “I liked the community. My wife and I were raised in Military environments. Both our dads were military. We’ve traveled our whole lives from Military base to Military base. I just like that whole environment. So the base being located right here was a plus for me.”
In addition to the Navy community, Tennant has received a warm welcome from civilian residents in Millington.
“I was planning on jumping in with both feet and I don’t plan on making another stop,” he said. “I couldn’t have found a better community. Even when I went to Missouri, those folks treated me great when I walked inf there.
“But I tell you Millington people have been so welcoming and gracious,” Tennant added. “They have been so accommodating to my wife and me. The first couple of weeks we moved into our home and the neighbors came by consistently. It’s a wonder how I didn’t gain 50 pounds. They came by with plates of food for us. Everybody has just been wonderful.”
Tennant is busy these days getting to know the residents he will protect and serve visiting businesses and schools like E.A. Harrold and Millington Central High School.
He is familiar with service starting his career in Dec. 18, 1981 in Owensboro. Tennant worked patrol, detective division and narcotics in Kentucky. During his tenure in Owensboro Tennant received a Certificate of Outstanding Service in 1997 for saving a 2-year-old with CPR. In that same year he graduated from the FBI Academy.
Building up his credentials of leadership in law enforcement, Tennant ran the Herman Police Department outside of St. Louis for a decade.
Now he is ready to lead a force north of Memphis. On Aug. 11 Tennant met with Millington leaders at the Board of Alderman and Mayor meeting.
“That was a long day,” he recalled. “I got here at 6:30 a.m. Then of course the other staff change took place at 2:45 p.m. Then I came back at 11 o’clock that night to talk to the folks there too. My law enforcement philosophy is grounded in a real strong foundation of community.
“I also try as a leader to never forget where I came from,” Tennant continued. “ I’ve told those officers I am committed that I am going to ride in a police car at least one shift with them to get to know them and for them to get to know me.”
In part of getting to know his staff of about 50, Tennant usually arrived to the Millington Police Department at 6 a.m.
“I’m going to make some changes, hopefully for the better,” he acknowledged. “The officers in the department have been very receptive.
“I’m grounded in the community, however, I am hard on crime,” Tennant added. “My wife always tells me, ‘It’s not your fault.’ But when I see somebody burglarized or victimized, I take it to heart. I am very hard on what I like to call the wolves. If the wolves want to come in here, we’re the sheepdogs. And we’re going to do the very best we can to protect the people who live here.”
Tennant said part of protecting Millington is getting involved with the youth. In his younger days Tennant was a coach of basketball, baseball and football.
“Our kids are a long-term investment,” he said. “It’s almost like an retirement. You have to get to those kids when they’re in the first and second grade. So by the time they’ve leaving the school system, they’re comfortable with seeing us.
“I take crime fighting very seriously,” Tennant added. “But even more importantly to me policing is about making this community better. Sometimes that’s helping people help themselves.”
In more than 30 years in law enforcement, the 54-year-old Tennant has helped many in Kentucky and Missouri. He hopes when he ends his police career with his final stop, the residents of Millington will be happy with his leadership.
“I hope they’ll say here like they said when I left Herman and when I left Owensboro, ‘He was a cop’s cop,’” Tennant said. “‘They did the job very good and fair.’ Not just the cops and even the people when I left both of those places, I got goodbye cards sent to my house. I’ve been very fortunate in my career to have been surrounded by good people.
“I try to lead those good people down a path and they’ve always followed,” he concluded. “I don’t expect anything different here. I know how to be a policeman. I was a damn good policeman when I was a street cop. I fought bad guys and the people there loved me. That’s exactly what I want to personify today. For the wolves who are out there, we are pretty close to some dangerous area. What I want them to think when they go out there and try to pillage. I want them to think the first thing in their minds, ‘Not Millington. Not in Millington.’”
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October 2014
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