WINDSOR, Colo. — After 38 years with the Windsor Police Department, Chief of Police Richard A. Klimek has announced he will retire this January.
Klimek’s retirement, effective Friday, Jan. 19, will mark the end of an illustrious law enforcement career spent entirely in Windsor, including a nearly 8-year tenure as Chief of Police. After starting with the department as a patrol officer in 1985, Klimek climbed the ranks to sergeant, lieutenant, and eventually chief upon the retirement of former Chief John Michaels in 2016.
Commander Aaron Lopez will lead the department as Interim Chief of Police pending the completion of the recruiting process for Klimek’s permanent successor.
While with the department, Klimek has watched the community grow from a small town into a larger community and has faced the challenges that come with that growth, including the expansion of the department and addition of resources to help maintain the level of service it has had for decades.
“One of the best leadership qualities Chief Klimek has is his sense of community. He didn’t just protect us, he’s led us all to safety,” said Windsor Mayor Paul Rennemeyer. “As we grew, as our needs as a community changed, Chief Klimek took initiative and set the standard that has made us one of the safest communities in the nation.”
Rennemeyer added: “Under his excellent example as a distinguished officer and sergeant and now as our police chief for almost 8 years, his strong leadership will be greatly missed.”
Klimek has also been witness to much of Windsor’s recent history, including the tornado that struck Windsor on May 22, 2008. The EF3 storm claimed one life and resulted in $147 million in damages (in 2008 dollars), according to the National Weather Service. In fact, it was Windsor’s response to the tornado, Klimek says, that taught him an important lesson about the importance of the public’s support.
“Our community survives and thrives on the interactions of the public,” Klimek said. “We can’t be successful at what we do without them.”
During Klimek’s tenure as Chief of Police, the Windsor Police Department has racked up many impressive achievements, including:
- Leading the community to be recognized as the Safest City in Colorado in 2018 by SafeWise.
- Increasing the ratio of female officers on the force to over 30%, well above the national average, as well as the hiring of the department’s first female sergeant.
- The addition of multiple new programs, including the Traffic Safety Unit, K9 Unit, and the department’s co-responder program, which pairs law enforcement with mental health specialists to help de-escalate situations involving those with behavioral health issues.
- Becoming active participants in Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) investigations, providing objective investigatory resources in cases involving law enforcement agencies across the region.
Klimek has also helped guide the department to the construction of its new state-of-the-art headquarters, a 40,000-plus square foot facility that is slated for completion later this year.
“Chief Klimek is deserving of many accolades for his long service and dedication to Windsor,” said Town Manager Shane Hale. “His department has grown and flourished under his care and leadership, but beyond any of the metrics we can use to measure his success, his greatest contribution has been his unyielding love for Windsor, its residents, and for the men and women in his department.”
Klimek is quick to point out, however, that it all is truly a team effort.
“It’s not about what I do, it’s about what our people do,” Klimek said. “We have an amazing department, and we’ve been lucky to have the commitment of our Town Board and the support of our community for as long as we have.”
Klimek added: “I’m excited for the town, we’re maturing. I can’t wait to see where we go next.”
To learn more about the Windsor Police Department, visit windsorpd.com.