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After more than 30 years of wearing a badge and promising to protect and serve, Lee's Summit Police Chief Joe Piccinini is retiring.
City leaders are starting the search for his replacement.
Piccinini grew up in Lee's Summit. He was hired as a patrol officer in 1983.
As police chief, he initiated community policing and led the department to becoming a nationally accredited agency for the first time.
"Thirty years ago I wanted to get in a police car and catch bad guys. Never thought about being a sergeant. I never dreamed of being a police chief 30 years ago," he said.
Piccinini moved up the ranks from patrolman to major. In 2008, he was appointed police chief. He says over the years technology changed law enforcement.
"We had a radio and a shotgun and that was about all we had in our police car. Now, we have so much gear in our police car that there is hardly room for a police officer in there," Piccinini said.
During his time as police chief, Piccinini said he is most proud of the city's decreasing crime rate. He says in 2012, it was the lowest in five years, thanks to the help of the community.
"If there is something going on in a neighborhood they call us immediately and they expect us to take quick action, and they hold us accountable to take quick action," he said.
Piccinini said as police chief he made it a priority to make the city's patrol districts smaller.
"So that officers had the opportunity to get to know people living and working in those districts. Once they got to know those people then they could build relationships to work on common problems to keep the crime rate low," Piccinini said.
The community also approved a no-tax increase bond to expand the police department's detention center and build a new training facility with an indoor firing range.
"Trying to decide when a good time to retire is ... after many long discussions, we decided there is never really a good time to retire. I decided to just make the announcement to go ahead and retire," he said.
Just whose name will replace Piccinini is unclear. City leaders and police department command staff are creating a plan to transition into new leadership.
"I am sure going to miss place," Piccinini said.
Piccinini will officially retire on Jan. 17. As for his future plans, he looks forward to sleeping in and deciding his next move.
City leaders are in the very beginning phase of finding a replacement. They could not yet provide KCTV5 with a timeline.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
12 East Delano Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36105