By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer
Clovis Police Chief Bill Carey is retiring after 29 years of service.
Carey announced his decision Thursday in a memo to his employees, according to a CPD press release. His last day will be Sept. 29, the release said.
The press release did not cite a reason for Carey’s retirement. Carey did not return calls to his office and home.
City Manager Joe Thomas City said he was aware carey was retiring.
“Bill and I had discussed it over the past few weeks and it’s not a surprise,” said Thomas, who was deputy police chief over Carey for a time during his service on the force.
Noting he had mixed emotions about Carey’s retirement, Thomas said, “I hate to see him go.”
He added, “I think he’s earned it, and I’m all for anything that will benefit him.”
Thomas said he assumes but can’t confirm that Deputy Chief Dan Blair will be named interim chief until a determination is made about doing a national search or promoting from within.
In April, Carey suffered a mild heart attack. Asked if Carey’s health played a role in the chief’s retirement, Thomas said, “I do know that he’s worked for over 29 years and that’s certainly enough to earn a retirement.”
Capt. Mike Ingram said he feels fortunate to have crossed paths with Carey.
“We have gone through good and bad times together,” Ingram said. “Obviously the good times were a gift, yet the adverse times made us both stronger and better prepared for the service we have been called to.”
Carey began his law enforcement career in Clovis in 1977. A graduate of Eastern New Mexico University, he received his New Mexico Law enforcement certification in December 1977. He worked up through the ranks, including years as a patrol officer, detective and narcotics agent, becoming deputy chief in 1999 and chief five years ago.
“Those who have had the privilege to work with him over the years will miss him,” Clovis police spokesman James Schoeffel said. “We wish him the best of luck in the future and a happy retirement.”
Carey’s retirement came as a surprise to Ken De Los Santos, Clovis/Curry County emergency management director.
“It’s news to me,” De Los Santos said when called by the Clovis News Journal for comment.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Chief Carey the past five years. That’s how long I’ve been with the city. He and his department have been very supportive in the city and county emergency management program. I will definitely miss him.”
District Attorney Matt Chandler said he had heard the chief was “greatly considering” retirement but had not heard anything definite until the news broke.
“Chief Carey was one that always put public safety first, and he has set the bar for the next chief of the Clovis Police Department,” Chandler said. “He certainly will be missed by both members of law enforcement and also the citizens that he served.”
R.E. “Bart” Bartosiewicz, who worked under Carey for a few years as former deputy police chief, had heard rumors about the chief retiring. Bartosiewicz’s reaction was philosophical.
“When you reach a pinnacle and if you think you’ve accomplished what you needed to do, it’s time to go,” said Bartosiewicz, who retired in December 2006 after 36 years of the force. “That’s what I did.”