Monday, October 3, 2011

Update: Myers out as police chief; Council wasn't consulted

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Below is the opening of the three-page release from the city, e-mailed a little after 3:30. To read the rest of it, see the very end of this blog series.

October 3, 2011

Chief Richard Myers announces retirement

Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard W. Myers today announced his impending retirement from CSPD. Myers released the following statement:
“When Mayor Bach was elected, I told him I was here to serve, and would do so loyally and do my best to lead the department in the direction he wanted to take the City, until such time that he felt he needed to bring in his own chief. Recently, he informed me he is ready to make a change in direction, and he is continuing to methodically create his own management team. Consequently, I have agreed to make room for this to happen by retiring from the CSPD. I have been positioning the PD to make the changes sought by the Mayor, and have every confidence that the men and women of the Department are well prepared to implement those changes."

——- UPDATE, 3:20 P.M. ——-

Though the office of Mayor Steve Bach still hasn't sent out a promised news release on the departure of Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers, it's clear that City Council was not involved in any developments that led to Myers' departure.

Council President Scott Hente says that, after learning of media reports Sunday night, he tried three times Monday to contact Bach directly, without success.

"I'm very frustrated and disappointed that I couldn't get through to him," Hente said. "Clearly he [Bach] has the right to hire and fire, and the city staff works for him. But you don't make decisions like this unilaterally. It's a shame that he didn't feel the need in this case to share anything with us."

Hente said he had ignored recent rumors that Myers might be leaving, saying, "I clearly didn't think something like this would happen without talking to Council.

"But one again, we on Council hear about big news from the media before we hear it from official channels. In fact, if you get the news release, please send it to me."

Hente had nothing but praise for Myers, saying: "I have tremendous respect and admiration for Chief Myers. When you have a large organization, you're always gonna have issues. But he has always dealt with them head-on, in an open and transparent manner, which any good leader should do."

————ORIGINAL POST, 2:26 p.m.————-

Richard Myers, Colorado Springs police chief since January 2007, is leaving the job, according to various reports and sources.

Myers in 2009.

City spokesman John Leavitt confirms that the city will be issuing a news release around 2:30 p.m., with no news conference planned. Steve Cox, chief of staff for Mayor Steve Bach, apparently will be available to the media after the release.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association sent out a message that it will conduct a news conference at 3:45 p.m. Its release says:

"The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association will hold a press conference between 3:45 and 4:00 p.m. today to address the issue of Police Chief Richard Myers’ retirement. You are invited to attend at 559 East Pikes Peak Avenue, Suite 102, Colorado Springs, CO 80903."

That's the first indication Myers' departure might not be characterized as being forced.

Myers was police chief in Appleton, Wis., before coming to the Springs to replace Luis Velez. After a rocky first year dealing with City Council members, Myers had gotten along fine with the rest of the city administration. But a series of negative stories had plagued the department this year.

"Hopefully the release will clarify a lot of questions," Leavitt says.

Myers was announced as the incoming police chief on December 1, 2006, and was sworn-in the first week of January, 2007. CSPD was the fifth police chief position for Myers, having previously served as a police chief in Wisconsin, Illinois, and his home state of Michigan. Chief Myers is in his 35th year as a police officer, and has served as a chief since 1984.
During Myers’ tenure as chief, the Department has gone through multiple budget reductions, cumulatively totaling over $5 million, and faces another $1 million reduction in 2012.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had to lay off some of our talented non-sworn staff, but I’m pleased that we’ve been able to reduce almost 50 police officer positions without having to lay off a single officer through strategic use of attrition,” Myers said. “I’m hopeful that moving forward, the Department can continue to strategically use attrition to make needed cuts without layoffs. The people in the organization are the most valuable resource there is, and need to be cared for.”

Despite the ongoing budget reductions, the Department has accomplished many things during the chief’s leadership:
• In 2010, the Homeless Outreach Team was honored with the Herman Goldstein Award for Problem Solving Policing. This international award acknowledged the innovative leadership role that CSPD took in forging collaboration among many service providers for the homeless.
• Also in 2010, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Civilian Law Enforcement/Military Committee (CLEMCC) awarded CSPD, along with elements from Peterson AFB and Ft. Carson Army Base, an award acknowledging the Civilian-Military Policing Collaborative here in the Pikes Peak region. In early 2010, Myers convened the leadership of all military policing elements, along with Pikes Peak area civilian police agencies, and began monthly meetings to foster a collaborative partnership approach.
• In conjunction with the above collaborative, CSPD and authorities from Ft. Carson have implemented several initiatives in the city’s entertainment district, resulting in reduced violence in the downtown area.
• Despite the significant budget cuts, the Department has leveraged a variety of grant and outside funding sources to acquire a long overdue Records Management System that will integrate and automate the agency’s massive records.
• The Department has also leveraged grants to acquire significant analytical software and recently combined its Intelligence and Crime Analysis units into a Strategic Information Center that feeds timely and relevant information to officers throughout the department.
• Through a strong emphasis on customer service and proper supervision and accountability, the Department has seen a steady decline since 2007 in the yearly number of citizen complaints and employee misconduct.
• The Police Foundation of Colorado Springs was incorporated to support the efforts of CSPD, and help fund innovative and educational initiatives that cannot be covered through traditional funding means. In its first year, it funded executive level training for police commanders and has assumed the coordinating role for the annual Medal of Valor program. For additional information, contact Foundation President Kyle Hybl.
• The Department began using and increasingly relies on social media to help solve and prevent crimes, as well as to recruit new volunteers and applicants. CSPD’s web site is now augmented by active accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and You Tube, as well as a variety of department digital tools to communicate with several advisory groups, neighborhood watch, etc.
• The Department has forged strong working relationships with other city agencies, particularly its fellow first responder agencies. The National Incident Management system of Incident Command has been fully trained throughout the PD, and command staff from police and fire work collaboratively with the city’s Office of Emergency Management in planning, coordinating, and managing all major events in the city.
• In conjunction with the strong partnership with CSFD, the volunteer program for CSPD recently was re-branded to CAPS (Community Advancing Public Safety) and a significant expansion of the volunteer services is underway. For additional information, contact Jean Kraus.
In addition to leading the CSPD, Chief Myers serves as one of 21 Commissioners on the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). CSPD has been an accredited agency since 1991. Myers has also served on the Board for Colorado Springs’ Joint Initiatives, an agency that brings agencies serving youth into a more collaborative partnership. Myers is also an active member of the Futures Working Group, a partnership between the FBI and the Society of Police Futurists International (PFI) and has contributed to several of its research publications. Myers was a co-author in a recently published textbook, The Future of Policing; A Practical Guide for Police Managers and Leaders (CRC Press). Myers has served as an instructor and presenter at numerous conferences and programs across the U.S.
Myers, who relocated to Colorado with his family in 2007, has indicated his interest in staying in the community. “We have completely fallen in love with Colorado Springs and the whole state of Colorado. “After an almost 35 year career in policing, and successfully leading an organization like CSPD, I’m confident that my leadership skills are transferrable and may be of value somewhere here in the region,” Myers said.
Myers service with CSPD will continue for several weeks in October, and his retirement commences in mid-November.

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