Springboro police chief ending 50-year career

When Jeff Kruithoff was selected the new Springboro police chief, city officials asked two things of him — that he stay longer than five years, and put a face on the agency and allow for professional development of a young staff.

Kruithoff accomplished both tasks. With nearly 21 years as chief, Kruithoff announced to Springboro city council he plans to retire on April 21 and end his 50-year law enforcement career. He served as a police officer in Michigan for 28 years, including 22 years rising through the ranks to become chief of police/director of police and fire services in Battle Creek, Mich.

He said Springboro has provided him with both a professional family and “a wonderful personal family.”

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“With the assistance of the city manager’s office in the last 21 years, I was blessed to remain the chief during that time and believe we made progress on creating a tremendous reputation for the department and the officers in the agency,” he said.

“However, this past November, I completed my 50th year of employment by a law enforcement agency and the time has come to say goodbye to a profession I have loved,” Kruithoff said.

He recommended that Lt. Dan Bentley succeed him as police chief, citing his experience and training. Kruithoff, 68, said he will continue to be a Springboro resident and will be available if needed. He said he’s not looking for another job and is looking forward to spending time with wife who is also retiring, his grandchildren, and at his home in Florida that he recently built.

As family members looked on last Thursday, he choked up with emotion a couple of times as he spoke to Springboro’s city council. In a poignant moment, two of Kruithoff’s grandchildren ran up and gave him a hug after he finished and sat down.

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Mayor John Agenbroad, who swore-in Kruithoff as police chief in April 2002, said he’ll be missed.

“You took us to another level and have been a friend and an ally as you watched over the city,” Agenbroad said.

“Chief Kruithoff was able to create a greater sense of stability and credibility within our police department during his time here,” said City Manager Chris Pozzuto.

Kruithoff said becoming a police officer was one of things that he wanted to be. The other was being an ordained minister. He said he opted to become a police officer “because the police curriculum was easier.”

Since 2005, Kruithoff has served as a volunteer rapid response chaplain with Billy Graham Evangelical Law Enforcement Ministry to talk to first responders after various shootings or severe weather incidents. Some of those assignments were working with first responders called during Hurricanes Harvey, Florence and Ian; flooding in Nebraska; several officer homicides; a school shooting in Kentucky; and the Las Vegas shootings.

Kruithoff was also a pilot for Angel Flight, which flies seriously ill children to various medical facilities such as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic. While he no longer flies as he sold his plane a few years ago, he said that experience “was very rewarding.”

When asked what he’ll miss about being the police chief, Kruithoff said he’ll miss knowing where the lights and sirens are going to and being in the know. He said he won’t miss those days being disappointed that there are some crimes you can’t prevent or are unable to solve. Kruithoff said he regrets not keeping a journal throughout his career.

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