Chief John Douglass has spent the last four decades keeping the residents of Overland Park, KS, safe and now he's stepping aside for a new challenge.
"I'm as excited about and as proud to be here as the day I walked in the door, and that's a good time to walk, while I still have that feeling and feel good about things," Douglass said.
Douglass is walking after 41 years on the force. It's a career that has seen him start as a patrolman in 1973, officially get promoted to chief in 1996 and practically everything in between. He's seen changes not only on the force, but also in the city he's sworn to protect over the years.
"Metcalf South was a big retail, but Oak Park Mall was being planning. 69 Highway, the wishbone, was not there yet. It was about to be completed. South of 95th Street, many of those streets that are now there were dirt roads. Civilization pretty much stopped at 435," he said.
When looking back on his amazing career, Douglass' heart goes back to 1977 and the death of a young girl who died from child abuse.
"This happened right before Thanksgiving, right before we were about to go out of town and I can tell you that at every Thanksgiving I wonder what she would be if she were alive today," he said. "She would be a young woman, a middle-aged woman with a family and children, all the things she didn't get to have."
Douglass will be leaving the department to head up the Shawnee Mission School District's Department of Safety and Security. It's the next step for a man who had no idea he'd be on such a great journey.
"I am amazed that this kid from a small town, from Olathe, would get that chance and it's nothing to do with me personally. It has to do with the job and jobs that I've had that have granted me all of these possibilities, and made it one great adventure," he said.
Douglass' last day on the force will be April 18. He'll start with the school district on May 1.
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