Evart police chief stepping down at year's end

Evart Police Chief Kendra Backing
Evart Police Chief Kendra Backing

EVART — The new year will see a change in leadership for the Evart Police Department, with Chief Kendra Backing leaving the force at the end of her contract.

Backing, who began working at the department in 2005 as a part-time patrolman, said she began thinking and re-evaluating her next move at the beginning of this year.

“I knew I had put in 10 years serving here and was debating whether to put in more time or to make a move,” Backing said. “Ultimately, I decided it would certainly be a respectable time to make a move and that’s what I’m choosing to do.”

Working at the Evart Police Department was the first job in law enforcement for Backing. After working part-time, she was hired as a full-time officer— the first full-time female officer in Evart’s history. She was later promoted to sergeant and ultimately took over as police chief in 2012, marking the first time the department had a woman as chief.

While the police department is small, it serves a very active community and Backing has learned many skills from her time in Evart.

“Working here, I’ve been able to become a well-rounded officer because we don’t have a detective bureau to hand our cases off. We see our cases from beginning to end,” Backing said. “I’ve been exposed to all types of things — dealing with bad checks, assaults, child abuse and more.”

As for her next step, Backing is not sure where she will end up. Law enforcement is her “heart and passion” and she may move to a new department, but also is considering branching off and teaching.

Succeeding Backing will be Sgt. John Beam, who will begin as interim chief starting Jan. 1, 2016. After six months, his performance will be evaluated.

Backing is most proud of the relationships her department has developed with the community.

“We have had National Night Out, which is something people look forward to each year,” she said. “We are in our schools, we give presentations to organizations and we’re a visible presence here. I feel as though we’re very approachable and active in our community.”

Although Backing is excited about her future, the decision to leave was not an easy one, she said.

“I’m going to miss the people I worked with and the community because this is such a great place,” Backing said. “This was my first job in law enforcement and I feel lucky. Evart will always have a special place in my heart, but I look forward to what comes next for me. I know I’m leaving on a high note and I’m confident in the staff we have here to step up when I’m gone.”