Police Chief surprised with Sagamore of the Wabash honor
March 26, 2021 -- Over 14 years at Reid Health, Police Chief Randy Kolentus has worked to build a one-person position into a professional security team of nearly two dozen members.
To do so, he used the experience gained from nearly three decades with the Richmond Police Department serving in every rank up to deputy chief.
That leadership also has been put to use over six years as president of the Indiana chapter of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety, helping to form a professional network of healthcare security throughout the state.
For all those reasons and more, he was awarded Friday the highest honor given by an Indiana governor, the Sagamore of the Wabash.
"Among these who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians, and ordinary citizens who have contributed greatly to our Hoosier heritage." -- State of Indiana website
Kolentus was surprised with the award during a meeting of the IAHSS state chapter at Reid Health.
"Thank you for this great honor," he said. "I've been fortunate to work for an excellent organization and with wonderful officers through the years. This wouldn't be possible without their help."
The award was presented by State Sen. Jeff Raatz and State Rep. Brad Barrett.
"Randy has spent his life in law enforcement. The many lives he has touched -- those he is aware of and those he is not -- are certainly untold," Raatz said. "It is no exaggeration to declare he has devoted his life to the service of others.
"The Sagamore of the Wabash is the most coveted state award, and Randy is most certainly deserving of the award."
According to the state website, the Sagamore of the Wabash award was created in the 1940s by then-Gov. Ralph Gates. The term "sagamore" was used by some Native American tribes to describe a lesser chief or a great man among the tribe to whom the true chief would look for wisdom and advice. It's a tribute usually given to those who have provided distinguished service to the state or the governor.
"Randy has spent his life in law enforcement. The many lives he has touched -- those he is aware of and those he is not -- are certainly untold. It is no exaggeration to declare he has devoted his life to the service of others." -- State Sen. Jeff Raatz
"Among these who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians, and ordinary citizens who have contributed greatly to our Hoosier heritage," the website says.
Kolentus came to Reid Health after 28 years with the Richmond Police Department. During his time at RPD, he was one of the founding members of the department's SWAT Team and was appointed its first SWAT Team Commander.
Recently, Kolentus has been hard at work transforming Reid's security team into a police department. The project began in early 2020 and passed the halfway point earlier this year with the graduation of four more officers from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.
"As a long-time citizen of Richmond, I'm grateful Randy has dedicated his life's work to ensuring our safety," said Jennifer Ehlers, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Quality Officer. "Randy's service to not only Reid in Richmond but to all the communities Reid serves is astounding.
"Randy's integrity is beyond reproach and his leadership skills are unmatched. All of us aspire daily to emulate Randy's service and dedication. We have an exceptional team of officers who are learning from the best!"