Police training inspired by murdered teen

Esme Kenney
Esme Kenney

By Corey McConnell - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police and the family of murdered teen Esme Kenney are working together to make sure Esme's death wasn't in vain.

Kenney was murdered in March just minutes from home while on a jog in Winton Woods.  Anthony Kirkland, an accused serial killer, is awaiting trial for Esme's murder and the murders of four other local women.

On Monday, 55 Cincinnati Police Officers were the first group to be trained in the ESME program.  By the end of the week, more than 200 officers will be trained.  ESME stands for Emergency Search for Missing or Endangered and is a revision to Cincinnati Police procedures for finding missing people.

The ESME program was created by Cincinnati police with the help of Lisa and Tom Kenney, Esme's parents.

"I think it's important when you're asking officers to risk their lives in the line of duty that they remember why they're doing what they're doing." says Lisa Kenney, Esme's mother.

The new program makes no distinction between 'critical' and 'non-critical' missing persons.  It also mandates that an ESME trained officer respond to every missing persons call for service.  ESME officers will utilize a new investigative checklist to immediately gather critical information rather than relying on standard techniques.  Officers will also make use of USAR (Urban Search And Rescue), K9 search teams, and other tools designed to assist in such investigations.

Cincinnati Police and Esme's parents hope ESME helps prevent another tragedy.

"Esme was a very physical person and we can't have her back physically but we try and breath her spirit into our hearts," Dr. Tom Kenney said of his daughter.

"If we can save one life we will have accomplished something really important," said Lisa Kenney. "I continue to see my role as Esme's mother in furthering change, positive change."

Officers trained in the ESME program will wear a pin over their hearts with Esme's name on it as a constant reminder and constant inspiration.

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