Premium Content

Erlanger Names New Police Chief

The City of Erlanger named its new police chief - a well-known face in the city.
Todd Brendel will take over on December 1 after Chief Tony Wilson retires. His hiring was approved at Tuesday night's city council meeting.
Brendel grew up on Garvey Avenue in Elsmere and attended Erlanger-Elsmere Independent Schools (Dorothy Howell, Tichenor Middle, and Lloyd High School).
His career in law enforcement began in January 1990 in Mascoutah, Illinois, and continued when he returned home to Northern Kentucky as a deputy with the Kenton County Sheriff's Office nearly three years later.
When a position opened in Erlanger, he jumped.
"Erlanger was always my dream job," he said. "I never really thought I would be chief, but I was young, and didn't think too much about it."
During his time in the Erlanger Police Department, Brendel has served as a school resource officer and has taught the anti-drug DARE program for eleven years.
Now as the department's leader, Brendel is tasked with navigating two challenging situations.
Erlanger may finally be closing its independent dispatch center and joining the Kenton County Dispatch Center, as the City of Covington did in 2012, giving the county a unified dispatch operation. That decision could come within the next six months to a year.
Meanwhile, whether Erlanger Police will continue to patrol neighboring Crescent Springs is still uncertain after the current contract expires next year. Crescent Springs said that it was hoping to save money when it solicited offers from other agencies, and may even explore re-launching its own police department.
Wilson announced his retirement at the same meeting. He said that he had been through four mayors during his twenty-five years with the city, the last two as chief.
"I never dreamed I'd be here 25 years," Wilson said. "I want to thank everybody. Erlanger is a special place to work. I am going to miss you."
Brendel stated some of his goals for the department.
He wants to see expanded community outreach and to communicate more with the city's elected leaders.
"There are some programs that we used to have that I would like to see if we could bring back and rework to get us even more involved in the community," Brendel said. "If we can get moms and dads and the kids to see us in a different light, that is something police need to constantly work on.   We could use to be a bigger presence in the schools, too."
The new chief also wants all the department's employees - 43 sworn officers, 10 dispatchers, 3 SRO's, 1 part time officer, 1 training officer, and 3 clerks - all to be prepared for whatever the next promotion that might be available to them.
"When I was at a crossroads, I talked to former Chiefs Marc Fields and Bob Arens, and they said if I wanted to move up, there were certain things I had to do to prepare for the next step," Brendel said. "I want the whole department to know what their next step is and be trained and ready to move up without missing a beat."
Brendel praised the department for its strong reputation and said that he has "an awesome group" of men and women to work with.
He is married to his wife, Elaine, and has a daughter, Ashia, 26, and two sons, Sam, 14, and Colton, 2. 
Brendel recently returned from a 10-week training at the FBI National Academy.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article misidentified the current Erlanger Police chief as Tony Kramer. It is Tony Wilson. RCN regrets the error.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor