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SUPER DADS: Longenbaugh keeps a close eye on family

June 18, 2012

photo contributed Columbia City Police Chief Tim Longenbaugh and his wife Kathy are the parents of three daughters. Pictured from left to right is Kendall, Kylee and Kaitlyn.

Editor’s note: The following is the fourth of a four-part series in honor of Father’s Day.

COLUMBIA CITY ­— Police Chief Tim Longenbaugh carries a new badge and sits in a new office.
After 10 years in the role of detective, Longenbaugh took the position of chief earlier this year.
Being the Columbia City police chief is a tall order for any person, but Longenbaugh’s greatest challenge is being a father to three, soon-to-be, teenagers while not allowing his job to consume every hour of his day.
Married to his wife, Kathy, for 18 years, Longenbaugh’s daughters are, Kaitlyn, 13, Kylee, 12 and Kendall, nine.
Q — Do you feel outnumbered being the only man in the house with four girls?
A — “I don’t know any different. It feels natural. It’s always been all the girls.”
Q — You already have one teenager, Kylee is right behind her older sister and Kendall is not too far behind. How do you think you’ll feel about having three teenage daughters?
A — “It does get to be difficult, especially with my job and what I see. I’m concerned about my girls. My girls might think I am a bit strict, but I am real cautious about social media.”
Q — Do you think you’d feel the same way even if you weren’t in law enforcement?
A — “I believe that I would. I grew up in a pretty strict home. I owe a lot to my parents for the way they raised me. I feel that gave me a real good foundation to raise my daughters.”
Q — People joke about dads and the boys their daughters date. Do you think your positions as police chief will come into play with their friends and their dates?
A — “Yes. I think it will come into play. I joke with my daughters about it and people say that the girls’ friends might be afraid to come to our house because I’m a cop. But once they meet me and my wife, I don’t think they’ll think that. “
Q — One would imagine that the police chief’s job is never done. How do you juggle being both a dad and the city’s chief of police?
A — “It can be a tough balance. I find my self working more hours with this new position. But my wife and I do a good job working together and keeping things in balance. As my kids get older, it will be a bigger balancing act, but I think my wife and I will continue to work together and keep it in balance.”
Q — When you are at home do you take off the badge and just be Tim?
A ­— “I try to turn my radio off and I try hard to drop work when I go home. I want to spend time with my wife and my kids. So, I try to not bring the work home with me, but sometimes it’s hard.”
Q­ — How do you see Columbia City from the perspective of your position?
A — “I think we’re fortunate here in Columbia City to have a good community. This is a great place to work and live. We’re safe here. I think we’re fortunate to not have the bigger problems that some of the other cities do. “
Q — How has this new position been different than your job as a detective?
A — “There’s a little more stress and more time involved. There’s a lot of meetings and committees I’m on and it’s caused me to have more hours at work. Overall, I think it was a smooth transition.”
Q — Did you always want to be the police chief?
A — “I knew that if the opportunity would come up I would apply for it. It has always been an interest for me to move up the ladder.”
Q — The city has seen a lot of new faces in the way of a new mayor, a new judge and a new police chief. How are you all adapting?
A — “I think things are really positive. I think Mayor Daniel is doing a terrific job. I think we’re working together well, not just with me, but with all the department heads.”
Q — What characteristics or personality traits do you have that make you a good police chief?
A — “I am dedicated. I’m hardworking and I try to be honest and up front with people about things.”
Q ­ — Do you see these same characteristics in your daughters?
A — “All three of the girls are very different. Which is great. That’s what‘s so cool about it. They all have way different personalities. Kaitlyn is very sweet-hearted, kind and is very nurturing. Kylee is very driven and somewhat of a perfectionist. Kendall is always happy and always has a smile on her face. She can get along with anybody.”
Q —When looking back at your childhood, what would be one of the things that most stands out in your mind when it comes to your parents?
A — “My parents loved each other and showed their affection. They were very good parents. They were strict as well. When you’re a teenager you question that, but thinking back on that now, my parents were doing what was best for me. My parents made sure I was active in the church and I think that really helped me.”
Q — If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
A — “I would want to be able to see into the future. I’d want to know if there was anything bad that might happen to my family that I could prevent. I really worry about my girls being put in a bad situation and I just want the best for my wife and my kids.”
Q ­— Having just come through all the different stages of parenting young kids, what would your advice be to parents who are where you were six years or so ago?
A —“I think it’s important that mom and dad are in agreement on discipline. I would say that mom and dad need to work together as a team and show there is unity there. If mom and dad don’t agree and don’t work together, that can be a problem.”
Q — Being married for 18 years is quite the accomplishment these days, especially given the amount of stress your job can create for you. How do you protect your marriage from the negative aspects of your job?
A — “We try to get time alone together. I think that it‘s important to have time to build your relationship even if that’s just getting time to sit down and see how the week is going. That’s what keeps our relationship strong.”
Q — Do you find time to be together as a family, too?
A — “It is difficult especially when you have kids involved in different things. I think it’s important to have time at home. We try to have sit down dinners together as a family. It doesn’t always work, but we try. Times like that, simple times as a family, is important to keep everyone connected.”
Q — Some might call that a rather dated idea considering how much we are tapped into technology and everything is geared to be on the go.
A —“Growing up, that lifestyle is what I knew. My mom is an awesome cook and 90 percent of the time we sat down and had a meal together as a family. It’s difficult now with all that happens in life, but I think it’s important. ”
Q — What lessons do you want your girls to learn from you?
A — “I would want them to have a strong relationship with Christ. I hope they would say that they enjoyed spending time as a family, and that morally and ethically, we raised them in a situation where they can make good solid choices.”

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