Troy Chenier no longer has to make the short, 800-foot drive to the Medford Township Police Department.
The officer’s retirement after 25 years of service was celebrated May 28 as drivers honked horns and the lighthearted “Cops” TV show theme song echoed throughout Mill Street, a nod to restrictions on in-person gatherings caused by COVID-19.
“Officer Chenier was a dedicated and passionate police officer who cared greatly about our community and the police department,” Police Chief Richard Meder shared in an email to The Sun. “Having grown up in Medford and having served for 25 years, he knew this community very well and we will be losing a great deal of institutional knowledge with his retirement.”
Chenier remembered how fellow officers put together a video of themselves reminiscing on working with him, his one-liners, personality and department demeanor. Fun has been an approach he maintained on the force.
Family was a career influence for Chenier. His relatives had been first responders when he was growing up in town, and he committed to the Medford Fire Department at 18. Nine years later, he made another commitment to the police department, where he stayed until the age of 52.
“Everyone says it’s a great town, but to be able to live, grow up and work in a town? You can’t get anything better,” Chenier shared. “The people of Medford and the community are just phenomenal. The closeness of it, outpouring support of the community, you can’t get any better.”
He hopes the same will happen for his two daughters, Haley and Zoëy, but he remains apprehensive about them being in uniform, given the changes the “profession, environment and atmosphere” have undergone. Haley has revealed interest in the behind-the-scenes work, eyeing forensics or court work.
Chenier is familiar with behind-the-scenes police work, having served as a patrolman, corporal and sergeant. He joined various units such as SWAT and honor guard, always reveling in interaction and conversations with the public.
“You have to be able to talk to people and it helps,” he explained. “When you have the ability to talk to anybody and everybody, no matter what they do, it only helps to diffuse and determine the outcome of what a situation will be.”
The drive to connect and communicate with people has led the retiree to Medford’s SWAT team, where he works with other officers in high-stress situations and to whom he entrusts his life.
Interactions on the job included one of Chenier’s most cherished community policing initiatives: Kidz Rock for Unity in the Community. He gathered township children to grab and paint rocks to place around the department’s walkway garden. The rocks remain in the area, weathered, but with inspirational sayings still displayed.
“If you start with a good relationship young, you hope that it only fosters into a better relationship as they get older,” Chenier shared. “They get to see the inner workings of the police department and officers, and know they’re there for the right reasons.
“It only helps the relationship through life with them as well.”
Chenier expects his connections with residents to remain.
“Some coined the phrase of (me) being the ‘mayor’ of Medford because I made it a point to try and get to know everybody and anybody I could,” he noted. “I have a philosophy that it’s better to be friends than an enemy.
“The more friends you can make, the more connections you could make, the better quality of life you could have.”