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YHC Police

By Steve Esser

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Forty years ago, a new sheriff came to town as the Young Harris College police force became an official accredited law enforcement agency in Georgia, growing from a police force of one to a fully-staffed, 24/7 department keeping the peace at the College.  

OK, maybe it wasn’t a sheriff and it’s not the OK Corral, but the Young Harris College Police Department completed all the necessary training and paperwork and passed the required inspections to be accredited as a state law enforcement agency in 1984, and has been maintaining that ever since. 

“We had an event happen on campus back in the ‘80s, so I went to the College president at the time and said, I think we need a police force,” said Ken Henderson, Towns County Sheriff. Henderson oversaw campus security and served as Young Harris College Police Chief until becoming the Towns County Sheriff in 2020. He was re-elected in 2024. 

“Young Harris College will always have a place in my heart,” Henderson said. “I have wonderful memories of the people – students, faculty, and staff – from my time there.” 

Protecting the people at Young Harris College was the driver to form an accredited police department, Henderson said. 

“I knew some people in law enforcement, so they helped us do all the preparations – training and paperwork,” Henderson said. “And then it was just a matter of going to the state of Georgia and applying for it and passing inspection.” 

YHC’s current Police Chief Robbie Rich worked for Henderson during the early years as the department grew and added staff. Now, the department as a fully accredited law enforcement agency not only keeps the peace on campus but aids area law enforcement agencies when necessary. 

“The department has grown right along with the College,” Rich said. “We have four full-time officers, and we provide 24/7 coverage for the campus. Our officers complete training each year in firearms, use-of-force, and community policing – all the same training required by any law enforcement agency in the state. It is a fully functioning police department, serving the College as well as the local community.” 

Henderson is proud of the development of the department, seeing it grow over the years since its first accreditation in 1984. 

“I love the place. I can’t say enough about how great it is and the team there is,” Henderson said. “We tried to do the job as it needed to be done. And now, with Robbie, they definitely have a great man and a great team to do the job and continue to provide for a safe environment for the students, faculty, and staff.” 

About Young Harris College 

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires, and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science, and Technology; and Professional Studies. Approximately 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the Conference Carolinas. For more information, visit