After 49 years in police work, Leonard Hendon is being recognized for his work.

Hendon, who has been an Ector County ISD police officer for 13 of those years, was recently selected as the Ector County ISD Police Officer of the Year.

He also has worked for the El Paso and Midland police departments, retiring from Midland.

“It was a surprise and a great privilege,” Hendon said of winning the award.

He had seen others get the laurels, but he wasn’t expecting it to be him.

ECISD Police Chief Todd Hiner said he couldn’t think of anyone more deserving.

“Leonard has been an asset to the ECISD Police Department by bringing many years of law enforcement experience to the table. He has a solid work ethic and is an ethical person that can be depended on.

“He is a well liked person by the community, his peers and is a true pleasure to work with. We are fortunate to have him in our police department. His being awarded the ECISD Police Department Employee of the Year is well earned, I couldn’t think of a person more deserving,” Hiner said in an email.

An El Paso native, Hendon said he became a police officer to help people.

“… My dad was a fireman, and … he and his twin brother were firemen, so I went into law enforcement,” Hendon said.

Following his retirement from the Midland Police Department, Hendon said a friend of his was working for the ECISD police and told Hendon there was an opening.

So Hendon applied.

Now Hendon is over evidence and manages the report management system.

“And I process all case reports going to the juvenile court, district and county court and municipal court, and I oversee the body camera program too, downloading them and making if somebody needs body cameras for their case reports …,” Hendon said.

He said case reports are always evolving.

“There’s been a lot of changes over the years,” Hendon said.

The FBI is moving from the Uniform Crime Reporting program to incident based reporting. He is working on updating that.

“Uniform Crime (Reporting) is something that they started back in the 30s and the IBR was a new system that they started about 20 years ago, and they finally decided to do it by incident based reporting, which is by each incident,” he said. “… So it’s just collecting more information on each case. …”

The police department reports its statistics to the state and then the state reports it to the FBI.

He added that the state requires “some extra stuff that the feds don’t require.” With the pandemic, incidents declined at the schools because students weren’t there.

“We normally just handle what occurs on school district property,” Hendon said.

Asked if he had any predictions for the upcoming year, Hendon said he thinks it’s going to be busy. The department got a preview of that when more students were on campus in the spring last school year.

“During the spring, we were quite busy with criminal activity that happens on campus,” he added.

Hendon said he has liked being a district officer.

“It’s been very enjoyable, very rewarding. I’ve helped out with some kids that have had issues. I meet kids that I met 13 years ago, and they still come up, talk to me at the mall or when they see me on the street or something and say hey how you doing. Some are good kids and some that had troubles, but now they’ve changed their lives around. I think all of us here at ECISD have had that issue with different kids at different times,” Hendon said.

He also enjoys working with the computer and learning new programs and developing programs to help make police work easier.

Hendon earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from University of Texas at El Paso and is a permanent deacon at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have a son, four grandchildren and a step-grandchild.