After 32 years with the Arvada Police Department, Police Chief Don Wick is retiring. “Don's impact on the city of Arvada today and in the future is and will continue to be immense,” Deputy Chief …
After 32 years with the Arvada Police Department, Police Chief Don Wick is retiring.
“Don's impact on the city of Arvada today and in the future is and will continue to be immense,” Deputy Chief Ed Brady said at a retirement ceremony held Dec. 12 at the Arvada Center.
More than 300 community members and fellow officers came out to wish Wick farewell.
Arvada Mayor Marc Williams said that Wick's commitment to the community can be seen throughout the room, especially with the presence of the business and faith-based communities.
“Don has worked tirelessly for the betterment of the relationship between our police department and the business community,” Williams said. “He has placed a huge emphasis on our partnership with the faith-based community to address issues that confound us. Issues such as homelessness, drug addiction and mental health. Don has been champion in those arenas throughout his time here and we thank him for those efforts.”
Wick joined the Arvada Police Department in 1985 after serving four years as a police officer in Laramie, Wyoming. He was 20 years old when he entered his career in law enforcement — not even old enough to buy his own firearm.
In 1989, Wick was promoted to sergeant and in 1996 earned the title of commander. In 2003, Wick was promoted to deputy chief and in 2007 he was named police chief.
He holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Metropolitan State College, a Master's of Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver, Graduate School of Public Affairs, and a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Denver.
Wick is active in the Arvada-Jefferson Kiwanis club and volunteers his time for several nonprofit organizations in the Arvada/Jefferson County area.
In his spare time, he builds furniture, acoustic and electric guitars.
Wick is also an avid runner, running to work for the past 10 years. He recently surpassed 15,000 lifetime running miles.
During his 10 years as chief, Wick introduced some of the departments most popular programs, including the honor guard, peer support, a mentoring program, and mental health co-responders.
He was also instrumental in creating a police database software, which is now used statewide and nationally by law enforcement agencies fro crime information sharing.
Wick also lead discussions in Jefferson County regarding homelessness.
“Don's goal wasn't to end homelessness, rather as to begin the discussion, get people involved and as he would say move the needle in the positive direction,” Brady said. “As a result, many citizens inquired how they could help showing that his leadership and drive to solve the problem reached far into the community and encouraged residents to get involved.”
One result of this was the opening of a cold weather shelter in Arvada.
But Wick emphasized that he didn't do it by himself.
“This has really been quiet an honor,” Wick said at the ceremony. “I want to thank all of you for what you've done for me as an individual, what you've done for the police department, the friendships and partnerships we've all had.”
As parting words to the community, Wick encouraged people to find a passion, connect with other people and go out and do something.
Williams said that Wick's professionalism, thoughtfulness and thoroughness has created a benchmark for the future and big shoes to fill.
“Thirty-two years of service to this community can't be replaced overnight and won't be replaced overnight,” Williams said.
For now, Brady has been named interim chief.