In any one individual’s life, there is a constant stream of other individuals moving in and out. Some are there for a short time while others remain there much, much longer. Very few, if any, stay forever. Some are influential, some supportive and helpful and a few are great aggravations. In my own life many come to mind, but outside of my family, few have been more influential and contributed more than my Executive Secretary, Dee Lock Sopinski.
I first met Dee when she came to work as the Unit Secretary in the investigations Division in 1976. About two months after she came to work, I was transferred into Investigations as a Detective working crimes against persons. In those days, we didn’t have access to video and audio the way we do now. So the Unit Secretary would often be called in to take shorthand statements from victims of serious crimes, such as rape. She would also take shorthand statements during the interview of serious offenders, murderers and rapists. I know that listening to first-hand accounts of man’s most serious offenses against their fellow man bothered her and bothered her a lot, but she never showed it. She was always professional and always very helpful.
Dee has been my assistant off and on for the last 34 years, and my Executive Secretary for the last fifteen as Chief of Police. If you know her, you know that she is one of the most creative, dedicated, hard-working and professional individuals you will find anywhere. If you know her really well, you know that she is loyal, kind and empathetic.
I can’t recall a single project in the last fifteen years that does not bear Dee’s fingerprints somewhere. From the most complex presentations to the most innovative practices to the most serious moments in our history, Dee was a part of each and every one. Even the blog that you are reading now was her creative instincts at their best. One more time, she took a raw idea that I had and changed it into a significant final product. So why do I point this out at this time? Well today is the last day of Dee’s employment with the Overland Park Police Department. She will retire today effective close of business.
So now it is time for a new chapter in Dee’s life. It is time to spend more of her time with her family, her husband John and their three grandsons and new granddaughter. It is time to concentrate on her, and to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. She has earned it. For the many things she has done for the City and the Department, she is owed a debt of gratitude. For all that she has done to help support me; there is no way of explaining how important she has been.
There is a long line of individuals who have been instrumental in my life, people who have helped me, inspired me, and influenced me. Few have had as much impact as she has. Thanks Dee.