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Open Letter from the Chief: Downing’s Retirement Made Official

downingretirementSusanville City Administrator Jared Hancock announced earlier today that Police Chief Tom Downing’s disability retirement is now official. Downing stepped down in March, with the city citing an, ‘immediate need for medical leave following injuries he received during his lengthy law enforcement career.’

On March 21st the City Council named Jim Uptegrove, a veteran police officer who spent 25 years with the City of Galt’s Police Department, as interim Chief.

Today’s announcement from City Hall read as follows:

“It is with much solemnity, that the City of Susanville announces the industrial disability retirement of Chief Downing effective April 22, 2016.”

“Chief Downing has dedicated the majority of his life to serving the local community and began his law enforcement career as a police explorer at 17 years of age. He has served the community fully and faithfully for 22 years and has served as the City’s Chief Law Enforcement Official since 2012.”

“His example is cherished, his legacy is preserved and his commitment is admired. The City and his colleagues wish him every happiness and success as he embarks on the next chapter of his life.”

“Moving forward, the City is well positioned to address the evolving criminal influences with proactive management and staff that are dedicated to the safety and quality of life of our citizens.”

Downing’s Open Letter to the Community

Following the announcement by the city, Chief Downing made his own announcement through an open letter to the community:

“It is with mixed emotions that I publicly announce my retirement as Chief of Police for the Susanville Police Department. The cumulative result of work-related injuries over the last few years has resulted in my inability to continue working as a peace officer. Effective April 22, 2016, I have been medically retired from the City of Susanville.”

“I started my career in law enforcement for the City of Susanville, at the age of 17 years old, in 1987 as a Police Explorer through a program sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America.  In 1989, I received a job with the Lassen County Sheriffs Office as a Correctional Officer working in the old jail on Lassen Street, which has since been demolished. Some four and a half years later, I would return to the Susanville Police Department as an entry-level police officer.   I was given the opportunity to work in virtually every special duty assignment within the organization and promote through the ranks. On May 16, 2012, I was blessed to be appointed the Chief of Police.”

“The Office of Chief of Police is the highest position in a municipal police organization. A position aspired by many, but only attained by a few. I was given the distinct blessing and opportunity to serve this community in that capacity. An honor only held by eleven others since 1923. I took this responsibility seriously and attempted to serve you with excellence, honor and dignity everyday. Not every day was the job easy, but everyday I felt the gravity of the position and the duty to be a servant to the community that allowed me this great opportunity.”

“I owe you, the community, my gratitude and heartfelt thanks for allowing me to serve you in this capacity. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities I have had as a peace officer and servant for the citizens of Susanville.   The Police Department cannot carry out their mission without the support of the citizens they serve. I have felt your support for the Police Department for many years; and that is very much appreciated.”

“I would be remiss if I didn’t identify some of those who supported me along the way. If it wasn’t for those around me, I would not have been successful in my career.  First, I thank God for His grace and mercy. Next, I thank my family for their support and constant sacrifice.   Your sacrifice of me being gone for holidays, birthdays, important family events, nights, weekends, and family time did not go unnoticed. To my wife, without your loving support of me and my career, I would have failed miserably.”

“Finally, I thank the dedicated and loyal men and women who put on the uniform and badge in service to our community with excellence each and every day. Your hard work and dedication is what makes SPD successful. I would not have been successful as a leader without you. I am proud to have been counted among you!”

“John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” I look toward the future with great anticipation. I believe the future of this great community and for those who tirelessly strive to make it a better place is bright. Thank you!”

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor


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