ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- On Friday, January 31, 2014 St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch retires after a 34 year career in law enforcement. That same day, the St. Louis County Police Board meets in closed session to select his replacement.
Fitch was 18-years-old when he started his police career at Cahokia Police Department. He served three years there before moving to the St. Louis County Department. He tells me becoming a police chief was not his goal. He wanted to be like the old TV show, Adam 12, running on calls, arresting bad guys and taking care of the good people in the community. He loved the variety, putting on his uniform everyday was as close to a routine as he had.
Fitch recalls when he started out, they didn't have tasers and pepper spray and laptop computers. Now, he says the patrol cars cost less than the sophisticated equipment that is in them.
Fitch rose through the ranks and was named Chief of Police in 2009. He says the role of chief is different in that community issues and politics take a lot of your time. He had some well-publicized battles over the use of speed cameras which he considers a money grab and contracts for work on the new county police crime lab.
The chief is stepping down to become a consultant for the security industry and law enforcement industry, working with some national police organizations on consolidation of services.
He says he proudest of the dedicated people he works with who have managed to reduce the crime rate dramatically while getting little in the way of raises. He will miss them the most and regrets not being able to get them more money. And he'll miss putting on the uniform every day.
Fitch adds he'll always be haunted by the child deaths he's had to investigate, like the murders of Cassidy Senter and Angie Housman in 1993.
His job has given him a chance to travel this country and abroad, taking him from Israel where he worked with the Israeli police to New York where he did an assessment of the NYPD. He won't miss the circus he says, but he will miss the clowns as he affectionally calls the people he's worked with everyday.