Overland Park's police chief retires after 41 years - KCTV5

Overland Park's police chief retires after 41 years

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OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

After years as Overland Park's top cop, Chief John Douglass is calling it quits. The chief is retiring days after the city was rocked by deadly, hate-inspired shootings.

For 41 years Douglass had a hand in protecting the people of Overland Park and this past weekend he thought he could quietly wind down his last week with the police department and retire.

He was wrong.

"Thank you for who you are and for what you have done," said City Manager Bill Ebel.

Thursday was a celebration of a long and distinguished career for a man who began it in Overland Park as a patrolmen in 1973 and spent his last 18 years as its chief of police.

"What John's legacy was to me and what it means to this department and this city is John cared," Ebel said.

Douglass said on Sunday afternoon he got a call he'd hoped he would never have to answer.

"We worked very hard on defense of the community center, working with people there and I always knew it was a possibility, but I never believed it would happen on my watch," Douglass said.

With the idea this was the possibility, Douglass had his department prepared. Within 20 minutes of the first 911 call reporting a shooting at the Jewish Community Center the suspect was in custody.

Still those closest to Douglass said he took it personally.

"After one meeting he was visibly shaken and he looked at me and said, ‘I'm personally angered and offended because I've spent my entire career trying to make sure this didn't happen,'" Ebel said.

"There's no one in our community who cares more about safety than Chief of Police of Overland Park John Douglass," said JCC CEO Jacob Schreiber.

In a service Thursday at the Jewish Community Center, with the world watching, Douglass was recognized for how he handled this week and every other week under his command.

But Douglass is as humble as one can be, he gave credit to those who work with him and for him.

"I'm confident in my staff and they would have handled this without me," he said.

Douglass will move on to become the director of safety and security for the Shawnee Mission School District, but first he had to say goodbye.

"In a few minutes I will step down as your chief of police and I will step down satisfied that as a group, with all of us together, we accomplished a lot," he said.

Douglass has just a week and a half off before he reports to his new job.

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