Caldwell Police Chief Chris Allgood will retire at the end of the year, two months after marking his 30th anniversary with the department.
He announced his pending departure at a Wednesday afternoon news conference with his wife and two children to his right and members of his department lined up behind him.
Chief since 2007, Allgood choked up when talking about the men and women of the Caldwell Police Department.
“They are my extended family,” he said, his voice breaking. “I just want to say thank you.”
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Allgood, who will turn 53 before he steps down, said he has no set plans post-retirement. But, he said, “I am strongly considering running for council this fall.”
His predecessor, Bob Sobba, served a term on the Caldwell City Council after stepping down as chief.
Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas said Allgood is beloved by his staff, then added, “I love him dearly.”
Community safety has thrived under Allgood’s leadership, Nancolas said.
“Caldwell’s crime rate is the lowest it’s been since 1985” or earlier, the mayor said. “Our closure rate is one of the highest in the state.”
The city’s rate of “Group A” crimes, which include crimes against persons, property and society, has dropped 29 percent since Allgood became chief, and the percentage of cases cleared increased from 40.9 percent in 2007 to 56.6 percent in 2014, according to a city news release.
City leaders plan to meet with the police department’s command staff to help figure out “how do we replace this great man,” Nancolas said. No decision has been made yet whether to promote from within or search beyond Caldwell, he said.
Of possible internal candidates, Allgood said, “the captain is at the top of the list.”
That’s Capt. Frank Wyant, who took Allgood’s former job when Allgood became chief.
Wyant, a 24-year veteran with the department, said he is definitely interested in taking the top job when the chief retires, continuing a career trend that follows Allgood’s.
“He actually was my field training officer when I first joined the department,” Wyant said, “and when he was promoted, so was I.”
“He loves this community,” Wyant said. “He never wanted to go anywhere else because he takes a lot of pride in Caldwell.”
Allgood noted he has “done almost everything available to do in this department,” including patrolman, school resource officer, SWAT team member and detective. The hardest moments, he said, probably came from his time investigating crimes against children.
The proudest moments came while leading the department he’d served for so long, he said. His last day in the chief’s job will be Dec. 26.
“I haven’t taken it easy for a long time,” Allgood said. “I’d like to do that for a while.”