(Information provided by the Police PIO)
Overland Park Chief of Police John Douglass today announced his retirement from the city after 41 years of service. His retirement is effective Friday, April 18.
“On behalf of the City Council and entire Overland Park community, I want to congratulate Chief John Douglass on his retirement,” said Mayor Carl Gerlach. “Overland Park’s national reputation and recognition as one of the safest communities in the country is a true testament to Chief Douglass’ leadership of the Police Department and his commitment to this community.”
The Shawnee Mission School District will tap Douglass to lead the district’s safety and security efforts. The appointment of Douglass as director of safety and security will be officially approved by the board at the January 27 meeting.
Douglass joined the Overland Park Police Department as a patrol officer in February 1973. He has held various ranks including detective, sergeant, a member and commander of the Emergency Response Team (SWAT), lieutenant, major and assistant police chief. He served as acting police chief from December 1995 and was appointed Chief of Police in March 1996.
During his tenure, Douglass was recognized for many accomplishments including implementing new crime fighting strategies such as information-based policing and strategic deployment. This policing and deployment strategy has been replicated in other communities nationwide.
He also initiated a nationwide benchmarking group, which enabled police departments in comparable cities to accurately share and evaluate data and initiatives. “I want to thank Chief Douglass for his 41 years of outstanding service, including nearly 18 years as Police Chief,” said City Manager Bill Ebel. “Chief Douglass is a leader among his peers. John has made an enduring impact on law enforcement in Overland Park.”
“The process to replace Chief Douglass will be a deliberate and thoughtful one. The position of Police Chief is vitally important to Overland Park,” Ebel said.
During his career in law enforcement, Douglass has garnered widespread respect for leading important initiatives including In Defense of our Schools, a multi-jurisdictional task force focused on school safety and security issues. He has worked closely with area school districts, including Shawnee Mission to implement the School Resource Officer (SRO) and other successful programs.
“School safety is more important than ever and we are pleased to have Chief Douglass, who has a wealth of experience and familiarity with our schools and community, join us to lead our district police force and safety and security efforts,” said Superintendent Jim Hinson.