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Port Washington Police Chief Rethinks Retirement Date

Thomas plans to retire by the end of year rather than next May; Police and Fire Commission to create panel to review replacement.

Port Washington Police Chief Richard Thomas is shortening his time left with the department by moving his retirement from May to the end of 2011.

", I felt that a year was just too long of a transition period," Thomas said.

The chief also recently became president of the national FBI-LEEDA, a professional organization committed to cultivating executive leadership in law enforcement, and had planned his retirement to coincide with the end of his one-year presidency.

But things have changed. 

Thomas for family and personal reasons, and wants to have even more freedom to do that again this year as his son will be back from Afghanistan, and he also has two new grandsons he wants to spend time with.

Rick Nelson, chairman for the Fire and Police Commission, said the commission recently met with a police chief from another town and is hoping that chief will be part of the panel the commission will create to review applications.

Other than that, the process for hiring hasn't been formalized — though the commission is already thinking local.

"(The) majority (on the commission) thought it would be nice to be able to promote from within, but we may also invite some outsiders to apply also," he said.

"We still have plenty of time, and the chief has always been very cooperative," he said. "I’m sure we could convince him to stay on a couple of weeks if need be."

But Thomas said he's confident the commission has plenty of time to make a sound decision.

"I think it’ll be good to have the new chief on board right after the holidays," he said.

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