Blue Bloods

Staff Writer

Decatur Daily Democrat

    “I cannot think of any bigger role models than my father and grandfather. Two men that day in and day out put on a badge, strapped on their belts and put their lives on that line to help others and keep their community one that they would want to leave their children with. They did and still do this and don’t ask for anything in return. Watching that growing up was just neat. I don’t think anyone else could stand in the shoes I stand in today when I was growing up and want to be anything other than a police officer either. My grandpa has always been one of my best friends and biggest fan. He taught me to lead by example and always do the right thing even if no one is looking. My dad has always let me choose my own path and never pressured me to be a police officer, but was always willing to let me dream of being one. With the two of them in my corner, I’ll be honest with you, I feel unstoppable and that I can leave big footsteps of my own.”
    — Huntington Police Officer Jordan Corral

    Father's Day was first celebrated June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington; however, the day did not become a national holiday in the United States for 58 more years, according to the History Channel website.
    This year, 108 years later, Father's Day will be celebrated Sunday. To commemorate this day, the Decatur Daily Democrat decided to focus on a family business — but to add a twist, instead of an actual business, decided to talk to a family who makes police work their business — Decatur Police Chief Leonard Corral Jr., who followed in his father-in-law, Richard Noack's, footsteps, while his son, Jordan Corral, is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. They are three generations strong working in the police field, each growing to love their job more because of the one before him, hoping to follow closely in the footsteps of his predecessor. Richard also has another son-in-law, Shaun Armes, who is an Indiana State Police officer, who each man is equally proud to call their Brother in Blue.

    Richard was once the Decatur Police Chief. He became interested in becoming a police officer because his own father was a county reserve officer when Richard was growing up. His father had many friends on both the city and county departments, all of whom Richard grew to know and admire for what they did for the community.
    “Best job anyone could ever have! I loved every minute of it,” Richard said when asked what he liked about being a police officer.
    His proudest accomplishment, he said, was working his way up from a patrolman to Decatur Chief of Police.
    “I am so proud,” Richard said about Lennie, Shaun and Jordan.
    Richard is beyond proud of his family and the many generations in his family who have been on the police force in some capacity.

    Lennie, who had planned on running for Adams County Sheriff this year, was offered the Decatur Police Chief position in late 2017. He decided to drop out of the running for sheriff and took over the chief position in January. Originally, he had absolutely no desire or interest in police work.
    He was dating his future wife, Kim, when her father, Richard, asked if he would like to ride along with him sometime while he was working. Lennie turned him down.
    To keep the peace with Kim (who was a bit upset with him for turning her father down) he later told Richard he would go along with him on a ride. It would be the ride that forever changed Lennie’s life.
    To Lennie, Richard was a great chief of police and has been a major influence during his entire law enforcement career. He made it a point to never do anything to embarrass Richard or let him down. Even now as chief, he seeks council from Richard regarding command decisions because he knows he will be given the right answer.
    “I love being a policeman where I was born and raised. I love putting on that uniform every day, patrolling and meeting people,” Lennie said. “I love being the chief of police. It was a dream come true. Only a select few ever have the opportunity to become chief of police. Even though I have only been chief for six months, I am doing all I can to be an efficient chief of police and an influential leader.”
    As far as accomplishments, Lennie has many — his wife, Kim, their two children, Jordan and Jenna.
    “I am so proud of my son. Jordan had a lot of influential men in his life. His grandfather, Leonard Corral Sr., who was a Vietnam war veteran; his grandfather, Richard, being the Decatur Chief of Police; and my brother in-law, Shaun Armes, who is a Sergeant with the Indiana State Police. I believe it takes a special person to be a police officer. This profession is not for everyone. I see the same qualities in my son that I had when I first started out in this profession. Jordan will be a great officer for Huntington Police Department.”
    Lennie’s own parents, Leonard Sr. and Virginia, constantly let Lennie know how proud they are of him and all he has accomplished in his law enforcement career.
    “My father now calls me Chief instead of my name,” Lennie said proudly.
    Lennie also feels proud of the accomplishments he has had on the job by being a community oriented police officer, and of the work he did when he was a detective solving important cases and making successful arrests and convictions during his time with the DETECT Drug Task Force.
    There is still plenty Lennie wishes to accomplish before the end of his career, including adding three or four more patrol officers and a take-home car program for the force.     Having several generations in the field of police work is great to Lennie. “Ever since Jordan was hired at Huntington, the family has received a lot of praise and appreciation for what we do. I even had people tell me that we are Decatur’s Blue Bloods, like the Tom Selleck show. Now we will have another officer in the family who will tell some fresh war stories about the job at family gatherings,” Lennie said.

    Jordan, following closely in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, will graduate from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in October 2018, according to Lennie. He is already employed as a police officer at the Huntington Police Department. Huntington Police Chief Chad Hacker recently told the attending audience when Jordan was sworn in that only two officers were hired from 36 applicants.
    “I’ll tell you a quick story,” Jordan said when asked why he became interested in becoming a police officer.
    It all started when he was very young, a kindergarten student in a class that was going to have a play based on career day.
    “So, each kid had to come up with a costume of a profession of their choosing. Of course, growing up with a dad and grandpa who are police officers, I wanted to be a policeman just like them. My mom spent hours cutting down and re-stitching one of my dad’s old reserve uniforms and made me the costume and my grandpa let me wear his chief of police badge; with that combo I had the best outfit on the stage. That is where it started, but where it flourished was at my time at Miami University as a student. I was able to work with both the city and university police departments in different leadership roles. I found aspects of the job I didn’t even know about and found I loved working with the community. So, I guess you could say the seed was planted when I was young and it blossomed when I went to college.”
    Jordan is still very new into the police field, but he is already in love with the job. Already he has gotten to do much, and it is everything he imagined it would be and more. One high point for him is the fact he gets to interact and work with the community, which is one of the aspects of the job he loves.
    He also enjoyed firearms training and riding along on patrol.
    “As I am just starting out, I can already feel my love for the job I have always wanted growing up.”
    For Jordan, there is also a sense of pride in his new position because it's work that is becoming a tradition in his family.
    “I definitely feel a closer connection with the job because the men in my family have walked the same path. One of the coolest parts will be when my name goes up on the wall of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and joins my grandfather’s, father’s and uncle’s names. My uncle, Shaun Armes, actually makes four people in my family that are part of the law enforcement field ... It makes me proud to be doing what I am doing, and for the reasons I am doing it, and I would be lying if a little piece of me didn’t want one of my future children to join the family business someday.”
    Jordan knows, however, the job will not always be easy.
    “I have big footsteps to fill. I can safely say that in not only my opinion, but also many other community member’s opinions, my grandfather and dad have been two of the best police officers to put the badge on in this town. Although they have paved the way for me in this line of work, I picked Huntington because I knew it would give me the freedom to follow their example, but also make my own little couple detours and twists along the way. So, where it is common to hope for promotions and awards in my career like any other, the biggest thing I hope to accomplish is just to be a good police officer. One that my community can look at and be proud to call their own. An officer that people can trust and call in their deepest time of need.”
    One family helps form a solid blue line, and for that we are grateful.