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VIProfile: Joe Kenda




My My My, He’s Back in BG! Lieutenant Joe Kenda made his second appearance in Bowling Green to speak to a crowd of 1,000 attendees at the Crime Stoppers 2019 Eye Opener Breakfast on March 6th. Kenda is in high demand, currently filming his ninth season of the American crime documentary hit series, Homicide Hunter, which airs on the Investigation Discovery television network. He and his wife Kathy were happy to come back to Bowling Green and even agreed to speak at the event free of charge. “I like it here,” said Kenda. “I’ve like everyone I’ve met here.

There are solid people here and it’s a solid part of the country.” Kenda grew up in Pennsylvania where he and his wife Kathy met in high school. He earned a political science degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in international studies from Ohio State University.

After school he attempted a short stent with the state department, which he says, “didn’t work out for either of them.” Since a child he knew he was interested in law enforcement so he began applying to several agencies. His grandparents lived in Colorado Springs so he added it to the list and they were the first ones to offer him a job. In 1973, Joe, Kathy and their two children moved to Colorado Springs and Joe began working at the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Joe’s law enforcement career lasted 23 years, of which he was involved in 387 homicide cases. “You don’t just apply to be a homicide detective,” said Kenda. “That’s not possible. You join a police department and you demonstrate you have some ability, some sense of things. You do good work, make a good reputation for yourself and apply for specialized assignment; and I did all those things. It took me a couple years to get into investigations and once I was there I was working in burglary. I had an opportunity to get involved in a murder case and I solved the case in a few days. They were so impressed with that they put me in homicide; and I stayed there.”

Detective Kenda said what makes him different from other detectives is his determination. “I won’t stop. You can’t treat it like a job; it’s a mission, at least it was for me,” said Joe. Viewers love to watch his determination and hear his distinctive voice as he describes facts and memories of the murders he solved on Homicide Hunter. Joe admits he was scared on the job every day, but said you just move through the fear and do your job. “If anyone says they’re not afraid, they’re either crazy or lying. Fear drives you to survive. There’s nothing heroic about that. You took an oath,” said Joe. Fear was close by in those 23 years for Kathy as well. “ Of course I was scared for him and us,” said Kathy. “I tried to not think about it a lot because you have to go about living your life. You can’t live in fear all of the time.”

These days Joe and Kathy are busier than ever before. Filming keeps them traveling often, as well as Cruise Ship traveling on the Kenda Cruise from Princess Cruises, a five night cruise with Joe and other cast members.

Kathy encouraged Joe to write a book for years and now after I Will Find You became a best seller, he is writing number two. As if filming, travel and writing aren’t enough, Joe frequently presents for Discovery as well as guest speaking for groups such as Crime Stoppers. Joe is a big proponent of the Crime Stoppers organization and the help informants provide to local law
enforcement. Hopefully we will see them again in the Bluegrass, and in the mean time, the Kendas will keep Bowling Green close as they drive their 2019 racing yellow Corvette Stingray purchased while visiting last year, representing Bowling Green proudly.

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