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Paradise Valley Police Chief Announces Retirement

Long-time Paradise Valley Police Chief John Wintersteen will be retiring later this spring. His retirement will become effective when the new chief assumes office.

Chief Wintersteen has been Paradise Valley's Chief since June 1995. During those years, the Chief was assigned responsibility for fire protection, ambulance service and the Town's participation in the AZTECH regional intelligent transportation system that links traffic signal timing and other technology for efficient traffic control. After September 11, 2001, the department's duties related to emergency management also increased tremendously.

"I've had a great run here in Paradise Valley – almost 13 years – and have been involved in some great things, like construction of the police station, reducing crime 33% over the past ten years, adding a second photo radar van and five red light cameras, starting a robust program of public education classes and special events for the department and the Town, building a volunteer program to support the community and many other things.  The police provide a great level of service to our community here in PV, and now's the time for a new chief to infuse fresh ideas and take the department to a new level."
Mayor Ed Winkler said he was grateful for Chief Wintersteen's commitment to and involvement with the community.  "John has been a tremendous resource not only to the Town government, but the Town itself."

Former Mayor Ron Clarke agreed. "John's always willing to be part of an important project."

In his retirement letter, the Chief noted that "I have great affection and commitment to the Town of Paradise Valley, its residents and the Town staff, especially the superb officers and civilian employees in the Police Department. Thus I will always be available to assist the Town in any way – as a Town resident who considers this my home for my remaining years, I always expected to serve as a volunteer in some capacity for many years to come, upon my retirement."

Chief Wintersteen was selected for his present job after almost 30 years as a United States Marine, a career that culminated in being in charge of law enforcement, security and anti-terrorism at the service's headquarters. Prior to that, he was a reporter/photographer for two daily newspapers, and served as acting editor-in-chief for one of them on several occasions. He and his wife of 40 years are residents of Paradise Valley.

In the Town Manager's acceptance letter, Mr. Bacon stated "It is a reflection on your affection for this community that you have provided me with this much advance notice." Bacon also noted that Chief Wintersteen's decisions will allow the Town to make an orderly transition, one very similar to the one the Town Council adopted for Town Manager.

At last night's meeting, the Council authorized the Town Manager to create a temporary position. John Wintersteen will serve as the Director of Public Safety from the time of his retirement as Police Chief is effective through June 30, 2009. He will remain as Town Marshal, focusing on the Town's Intergovernmental Agreement with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, as well as investigation and resolving animal complaints within the Town. He will also conduct other Town Code compliance programs.

He will not be responsible for management of the police department, but will oversee the completion of the Town's transition to the Phoenix Fire Department for fire protection, and to Professional Medical Transport, Inc. for ambulance service. This responsibility will include being the project manager for the two new fire stations being constructed by the Town.

Wintersteen's compensation in his new position will remain the same. He currently earns $131,000 per year as Police Chief.

Chief Wintersteen said that "this is a marvelous opportunity to serve the Town in several major ways. First, there are unfinished tasks related to the transition that I very much want to complete, and have the background to do. Second, most chiefs of police have some familiarity with firefighting, ambulance service, animal control and other areas that have been police department responsibilities here, but having to take charge of them on the first day as chief may deter some great candidates from applying. Now, these areas can be completed or organized, and gradually turned over to the new chief or other Town department after the new chief has a handle on the police department's core services to the Town."

The Town will begin a search for Wintersteen's successor in the very near future and hope to make the appointment in the spring.

For more information about this topic, contact Jim Bacon at 480-348-3533 or jbacon@paradisevalleyaz.gov.

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