LAGRANGE — Greg Kenner, the LaGrange County Prosecutor, has announced that he will be retiring from his office, effective on Jan. 1.
Kenner has served as the county’s prosecutor for the past six years, but his time working in that office goes back nearly two decades.
Kenner first started working in the LaGrange County’s Prosecutor’s office in 2002, first as the deputy prosecutor, and then elected prosecutor.
Kenner, 69, said in his official letter of resignation sent to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb that he is retiring due to his health, his age, and “the fact that I have a very capable replacement in my Chief Deputy Travis J. Glick.”
The retirement comes mid-term, as Kenner’s four-year term extends through 2022.
An Illinois native, Kenner first arrived in Indiana to attend Huntington College, where he studied education. For the first three years after college, Kenner taught junior high school social studies at two area schools.
But he took a chance and decided to switch careers. Kenner joined the Kendallville Police Department and worked for six years as a police officer. Kenner said he quickly became fascinated by the court system, and while working as an investigator for the DeKalb County Prosecutor’s office, starting attending law school to be a lawyer.
“I just found the courtroom work really interesting,” he said of the motives behind career move.
It took Kenner almost eight years, working a full-time job by day and driving to Lansing, Michigan, at least three nights a week, to earn his law degree. Then, with that new degree in hand, he started working in the DeKalb County Prosecutor’s office as both an investigator and deputy prosecutor. He then took a job as a full-time deputy prosecutor with the Steuben County Prosecutor’s office. Finally, he arrived in LaGrange County Prosecutor’s office where he’s remained.
One of the highlights of his career, Kenner said, is assembling the staff he now has working for him at the prosecutor’s office.
“It’s a really good staff,’ he said. “We’re a very successful office.”
Another mission Kenner said he hopes he’s accomplished is that his office has created a good working relationship between his office and LaGrange County’s law agencies.
“One of my big goals was to make sure we were a law enforcement friendly office,” he said. “I wanted to make sure law enforcement officers know that we’ve got their backs. We’ve worked very hard at that.”
Kenner said it’s impossible to pick out a single moment in a nearly three-decade long career in the courtroom as his favorite, but did say he’s enjoyed the time spent defending communities against criminals.
One big change how Kenner ran the prosecutor’s office was his push to make the office paperless, streamlining the way it keeps records. All information now is filed in a digital format, eliminating the need for large files and large filing cabinets. These days, instead of carrying heavy briefcases loaded down with dozens of paper files into local courtrooms, members of his staff simply walk into the Courthouse armed with a laptop computer, accessing all the information needed for cases digitally.
Another proud achievement for Kenner is having a hand in the county’s decision to build the new LaGrange County Justice Center, now home to the prosecutor’s office and the LaGrange County Probation Department. Both departments were housed in less than adequate offices, in the basements of two different buildings.
Kenner said he’s not sure what he’ll do next, but said he is positive he’ll find something to keep himself busy. An avid camper, Kenner also loves art and covered the walls of his office with paintings, his own artwork, and reproductions of family pieces of art.
“Yeah … I like art,” he said. “I’m not very good at it, but I like it.”