Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers says Mayor Bach told him he is ready to "make a change in direction," and has agreed to make room by retiring from the CSPD.
KKTV 11 News learned Monday afternoon that City Council Members were informed just after noon on Monday that Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers is going to retire.
There have been rumblings among the police department for several days, but this is the first confirmation of his departure.
The following quote was sent in an email from the City's Communications Officer:
“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."
Myers was appointed Chief in January of 2007, after previous stints leading police departments in Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
City Council members tell 11 News that Chief Myers had been recently voicing complaints about downsizing and budget cuts within his department. During his tenure, the department's cuts have totaled more than $5 million. An additional $1 million could be cut in 2012.
As a result of those cuts, Chief Myers made the decision to focus resources on violent crimes, meaning property crimes like burglaries and break ins were no longer a priority.
KKTV 11 News spoke to Mayor Steve Bach about the cuts. He said, "our budget for next year maintains services. It maintains boots on the ground, but it does not increase services. The reason for that is that we're concerned about the economy."
When asked about pressure put on Chief Myers, the Mayor's answers were unclear. He did say, however, that he wishes Myers the best in the future. He also talked about a new direction.
"I campaigned on a pledge to transform our city government so that it works for everyone again,” Bach said. “And I can tell you that we have serious financial challenges in this city. We have escalating costs. We have revenues that are not predicted to increase that much anytime soon. So, if we don't change the way we operate, if we don't bend our cost curve, then we're heading for very serious challenges here in a few years."
11 News asked him what that will mean for concerned citizens.
"This has no impact on the level of service," he said.
Colorado Springs Police Protective Association President Peter Tomitsch says held a press conference Monday afternoon to discuss the retirement. He said he was shocked and saddened by the news. He also praised Chief Myers leadership during rough economic times.
“I think that we’ve got to give Mayor Bach a chance and let him go in the direction he feels the city needs to go in," Tomitsch said. "I would just like to call attention to the fact that Chief Myers was incredibly successful in what he did here under some very challenging and tumultuous years.”
Other public officials have also released written statements.
“I am sorry to hear that Chief Richard Myers will no longer be at the helm of the Colorado Springs Police Department," said District Attorney Dan May. "In my many dealings with Chief Myers, I have always found him to be a consummate professional; thorough, honest and dedicated to the safety of the community we serve. I would like to wish the Chief the best of luck in all his future endeavors.”
“Sad to see Chief Myers go, we have really had a good partnership, and will continue to have a good partnership with CCPD," said Fountain Chief Todd Evans, "They’ve been great partners to work with. Sad to see the chief go, and understand it can be very taxing on his family and I wish them the best.”
"Chief Myer has been an exceptional leader for the Colorado Springs Police Department," said Police Foundation of Colorado Springs President Kyle Hybl. "He's truly been a pleasure to work with."
Keep checking this page of updates.