WORTHINGTON ― Worthington Police Department Capt. Kevin Flynn will retire from the Worthington Police Department at the end of this month after nearly 29 years of service to the community.
The Worthington native described his hometown as “the only place I’ve ever wanted to work.” Flynn started his career with WPD in the fall of 1991.
Flynn was inspired to become a police officer by the dad of a friend of his, Gary Vonwald, a state trooper he knew to be an honorable person and good example.
After completing formal education in law enforcement at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Flynn was able to work part-time with WPD, due to an officer's injury, until a full-time spot opened up. Actually, three positions became available at the same time, and Sgt. Tim Gaul and Officer Bob Fritz were also hired then.
Throughout his years in law enforcement, Flynn said that the biggest change in police work has been technology resources. Patrol officers used to have to call dispatch to look up license plate information, but now they can do almost everything from their squad cars.
Overall, the interpersonal parts of his job have remained the same throughout his career, he noted.
“There are so many more good, decent people than there are customers of ours,” he said.
He added that it’s also common for criminals to be repeat offenders, and that they tend to pass down a penchant for lawbreaking to their children. Flynn said at this point in his career, he is starting to work with people whose parents and grandparents have frequented Nobles County Jail.
Flynn feels most passionate about crimes that “take advantage of those that are unable to defend themselves,” he said.
He started his career as a patrol officer, then moved to investigation from 1996 to 2014. For the last nine of those years, Flynn was ranked a sergeant. He enjoyed being an investigator because he got to piece together a case and see it to its conclusion.
Then, in November 2014, Flynn was promoted to captain, a role he likened to being the assistant principal of WPD.
The public can support WPD by being respectful to each other, Flynn said.
Over the last several years, “law enforcement hasn’t done its very best to rise to the top” nationwide, he noted. However, police officers, just anyone in a professional position, should be treated with respect.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, Flynn isn’t able to have a retirement party right now, but he plans to celebrate with friends and family later.
In his retirement, Flynn looks forward to helping out with Minnesota West’s law enforcement program on an as-needed basis.
“I intend on playing an extreme amount of golf,” he added.
For the last few weeks, Flynn has been working with Sgt. Nate Grimmius, who will take over the position of captain, to make the transition seamless.
Serving with WPD “has been a blast,” Flynn said. “It’s been a great career.
“The city has been a tremendous employer,” he added. “They do things correctly with the taxpayers’ money, and they’re supportive of us.”
As much as he looks forward to retirement, Flynn said he miss the people he’s worked with, in particular Gaul and Fritz, whom he has seen almost every day for his whole career.
Also, “I’ll have to think of what to wear everyday,” he joked.
Worthington Police Chief Troy Appel shared a few comments about Flynn’s retirement. Appel has known Flynn since high school, and they have worked together at WPD since 1993.
“As he nears his last day with WPD, I’m torn,” the chief said. “I’m excited he’s moving on with life and into a well-deserved retirement. He’s always been a dedicated, hard-working, no-complaints, get-it-done kind of person, and I’m sure he’ll carry that into whatever comes next.
“But I’ll miss him, and our department will miss him. Great people and great employees are difficult to find and even more difficult to keep. I’m grateful for the time we’ve had together in our current roles and for the shared effort to reshape our department.
“As Kevin has said many times,” Appel added, “‘onward and upward!’ I can’t congratulate him enough and wish him well in the next chapter of his life.”