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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sergeant Chris Goshorn Retires From Fort Thomas Police Department After 21 Years

Chris Goshorn at KRS. Courtesy Amy Goshorn
Police work was a calling for Chris. He felt compelled. His sister Jessica Goshorn Brockman remembers From a young age he always wanted to help others and was always running up the street every time he heard sirens to see what was going on and if people were okay. Chris’ mother, Beth, says I still remember Chris as a kid playing “Starsky & Hutch” with his cousin… and the elementary school essay he wrote about being a cop. 
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Police are called in times of need, when we are at a low point. We need someone to solve a problem.  Many times our encounters with policemen seem to settle on the negative side.  But then, there is Chris Goshorn.  His wife, Amy, says I've witnessed many things. The good, the bad & the down right ugly. But, what never seemed to change was Chris' love for his job and most importantly the love of his community & keeping this city safe…. He's the man who, to this very day, takes food & drinks to the homeless guy over at the corner or Liberty & Reading road in the OTR….He’s given his personal cell number to numerous people after a call … and told them to contact him at any time. These are the things that he does without looking for recognition.

Police Chief Michael Daly says of his 21 plus years of working with Chris, The biggest thing that describes Chris Goshorn is compassion. He is one of the most compassionate officers that I have ever been around…. I’ll give you a story. A few years ago we had a call of a situation about an elderly lady. And it was winter time. She had all of her services cut including her phone. She had health issues and she didn’t have money. Chris was the officer who responded to that. Whenever Chris goes on a call, it wasn’t just a call. He would always take it a step further to where he made sure that he made the best decision to help people out the best he could. In this case he took money out of his own pocket and took the time to make sure that services were turned back on and he also bought her a phone out of the goodness of his heart because that’s who he is.  
Chief Mike Daly and Sergeant Chris Goshorn

I heard a number of stories of what Chris Goshorn has done for people behind the scenes.  He says, I never talk about it because it may not be in the training in the academy.  But to me, it’s the right thing and it was what I felt like I should do. Not just being a Fort Thomas policeman, but being a member of society. This job is even more difficult when you are a very compassionate person because the things you see really tug at your heart. 

It can make you very jaded and it is a struggle. But as jaded I am, I am surprised by some of the nice comments made about me since I announced that I was leaving. The negative side of society is often my primary client. So for me to still be as touched and compassionate as I am …like even this morning. I had someone seek me out because they needed assistance. It meant a lot to me that they sought me out even though these are my final shifts. The more jaded I become the more compassionate become. It’s not a formula that works, but….

His sister, Rebecca Goshorn Etter, says He is genuinely rooting for each and every person he meets.  He thinks about them after the traffic stop, or a visit to their home, or even after he has arrested them.  His sensitivity makes him a great public servant but also makes for a heavy heart as he heads home to his family each day.  I’m so proud of my brother.

Chris Goshorn and his family. Courtesy of Amy Goshorn

His mother says Being a police officer in a town you grew up in can present some unique challenges and potentially awkward situations. Chris minimizes the volatility of these encounters by showing respect to individuals involved while asserting his authority appropriately & relying on his exceptional interpersonal skills. He truly loves his community even though many times he must deal with the DARKER side of it, he strives to keep it BRIGHT as he protects & serves to the best of his ability. 

Chris talked about the down side of police work. There have been terrible situations that I had to deal with. And sometimes in the evening all of the bad stuff comes back to me - the accident scenes, the children that died in my hands, homicide scenes. And I thought, how could retirement ever be enjoyable for someone who has seen all this? But during this final week, all of the wonderful things are coming back to me now that overshadow the negative. And when I reflect on it, I feel like Peyton Manning winning the Super Bowl. I am on top of the world and this is the way that I want to remember it. I can leave 100% content about what I achieved. 

Chris was raised in Fort Thomas. He went to Woodfill Elementary School and graduated from Highlands and then from NKU. He has raised his children here. He is deeply rooted and committed to the community and he feels obligated to make it as good a place as he can.
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 Chris says It’s bittersweet….It’s where I grew up. It’s where I learned policing. And I love this community, the men and women I work with, but twenty-one years takes a toll on you. Then he quickly adds, I will be able to fish more and ride my motorcycle more. Get some things done around the house. 

But he isn’t sitting still. He already has something to do next week. He will be driving a few days a week for Executive Transportation. It’s a good transition and right up my alley. It’s in my element. The ironic thing is I am driving people around who want to be in the back of my car now. And they talk to me instead of yelling at me. And I enjoy it. I get the interaction with people that I like.  He laughs.

And now his son, Trenton, wants to follow in his footsteps. He says about that choice, It’s a double edge sword especially in today’s society.…I never try to change his mind because I know my mind couldn’t be changed. I had a jaded state trooper try to talk me out of it, but I wrote him off because I wanted to do this. And he has done the groundwork to help them succeed.

Chris Goshorn and his children. Courtesy of Amy Goshorn.

He says, It makes me nervous. It’s the emotional scarring that can happen. So I have set the emotional groundwork, to talk, to be aware of it, to not be afraid to get assistance with it. Don’t ignore it. Don’t try to man up to it. Talk about it. Get it off your chest. Because even if you work in the greatest community ever, you see life’s dark side and you see drama and you see pain. And if you are made up like I am, it’s going to affect you. 

I asked him if he had anything that he wanted to say to the community and he simply said Thank you and then he paused. And that pause was full of thought and emotion. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to, and I know it sounds cliche, but to serve and to protect. Thank you for being a part of my life. It’s such a fantastic place to live and work…. And I hope I made Fort Thomas a little bit better place. I am leaving my position but I will still be around.

Retirement today is not riding off into the sunset, to disappear from view, never to be heard from again. It is a transition, a pause before the beginning of something new. It’s a time to renew and reinvent.  Chris has served the community with dignity and compassion and if there is something to be learned from his service it is this - If you treat people with dignity, respect, and compassion then the world becomes a better place and you become better for it. Like Amy says,  We are all equally & collectively better for knowing him.

Badge number 4314 will be retired, never to be issued again.  And that’s enough of a tribute to the man Chris Goshorn is.
Sergeant Goshorn and a farewell gift from fellow officers.

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