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In Kenmore, the village chiefs are father and son

In Kenmore, two men with the same name and title also have the same goal: to protect the village from harm.

It's only fitting that they are father and son.

Kenmore's police chief is Peter J. Breitnauer, a lifelong resident who has been on the police force since 1984 and was a Kenmore fire chief before then.

His son, Peter D. Breitnauer, was appointed last month as chief of the Kenmore Volunteer Fire Department.

"Someone needed to step up and I stepped up and took the reins," Peter D. Breitnauer said of his role as fire chief.

The elder Breitnauer said they are the first father and son pair to serve simultaneously as chiefs in the police and fire departments in Kenmore.

"I'm very proud of him," the police chief said of his son. "But I'm not surprised. He's always shown an interest and is community minded."

"It's a great community," the younger Breitnauer said. "The population may have gone down a little bit, but we still have 15,000 to 16,000 people in a small village. All our residents are very supportive. I couldn't have picked a better career or a place to live."

Peter J. Breitnauer is the second person to have served as both the village's fire chief and chief of police. The first to do that was Clarence Yochum, who held both titles simultaneously in the 1940s. Breitnauer was chief of the fire department in 1984 when he was appointed to the police department.

Peter D. Breitnauer works for the Kenmore Department of Public Works now, but he said someday he'd like to follow in his dad's footsteps and join the police force. His older brother, Justin, has been on the Kenmore Police Department for the past four and a half years.

Their father said he was the first in the family to join the Kenmore Fire Department, joining his friends as a volunteer when he was discharged from the military, as a sergeant in the Army.

"Back then there was almost a waiting list. Now they have to ask people to join because people are so busy. It's changed so much with all the training you have to do," said the elder Breitnauer.

The fire department has about 43 volunteers now, down from the 65 it had when the fire chief joined the department nine years ago.

"The guys and gals we have really step up and show that we can do more with less," Fire Chief Breitnauer said. "The dedication they give is unbelievable."

Meanwhile, Police Chief Breitnauer said the biggest change his department is facing is the proliferation of drugs.

"It's the number one enemy. But in Kenmore we've been pretty fortunate," he said.

The father and son are often called to the same emergency scenes.

"Area-wise it's about a mile and a quarter square, but we have a lot to take care of," said the police chief, who oversees a force of 25. "Our job is to make sure everyone is safe and goes home safe."

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