Giving himself time to have completed 40 years of work in the law enforcement field, Port Washington Police Chief Richard Thomas has turned in his letter of resignation, effective May 9, 2012.
"I'm at a point where I came here and completed what I was supposed to do," he said. "It's really time for me to pass the torch to someone else."
It's important, Thomas continued, for a leadership role such as police chief to change hands so that there are fresh ideas and new perspectives serving the community.
"That change can be very positive," he said.
Thomas handed in his official letter of resignation to the Port Washington Police and Fire Commission on Monday, giving the group ample time to find a replacement.
Rick Nelson, chair for the commission, said that Thomas' time with the department has had a positive impact on the community.
"I think he’s instilled in all the officers that we're a service orginzation, here to serve the citizens of Port Washington," Nelson said. "(He makes the officers) aware of what their responsibilities are to the city, and I think he’s done a great job doing that."
Nelson said the position will seek candidates nationwide, but that does not mean it won't consider applicants locally.
"We would certainly entertain anybody that’s on the force now that would like to apply, and I suspect that there will be some that will," he said.
The commission will meet on June 13, and will likely set a plan of action for the application and interview process then, he said.
In his letter of resignation, Thomas detailed the accomplishments he's seen with the department in his 5 1/2 years spent serving the community, including:
- consolidated dispatch;
- Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation;
- comprehensive professional development training program;
- a property room that has been satisfactory audited twice in the last 5 years;
- state of the art technology in squads and facility;
- a records bureau with a centralized manager;
- a completed 5-year strategic plan;
- adoption of a Community Oriented Policing Problem Solving model;
- implementation of special teams and committees: Honor Guard, Evidence
Tech Team, Training committee, Clothing committee, Equipment and Facility committee;
- participation in Ozaukee County SWAT and Hostage Negotiation Teams;
- officers trained in four of the five law enforcement tactics;
- a mission and value statement that guides employees' decision making;
- All employees trained in Incident Command System with two full active shooter exercises conducted;
- a fully functional Emergency Operations Center located in the community training room;
- and the adoption of an established intervention program (Character Counts) that is now institutionalized in Port Washington, the school district and the Village of Saukville.
Nelson pointed to several of the named accomplisments as some of the most noteworthy achievements by Thomas in his years here, and added that he has also been a great resource for the rest of the department employees.
"He’s been big on pushing every body into education and making sure they get schooling that could be helpful for their careers," he said.