Police chief confirms retirement

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March 5th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Omaha Police Chief Alex Hayes made the official announcement Monday that he would be retiring his position, effective at the end of this month.

Hayes has served as chief of the Omaha Police Department since August, 2009, when he was appointed to replace Eric Buske, who accepted a position heading the police department in Bryan, Texas.

Alex Hayes has served as Omaha's police chief since August, 2009. (Photo credit NET News)

In a statement, Hayes said, “My decision to retire at this time was personal and was not an easy decision to make…It has been a privilege to work for the citizens of Omaha.”

Hayes has not cited a specific reason for making the decision, but Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle said it was one that Hayes consulted his family about, and one that he respects.

“Well, we wish him God speed,” Suttle said. “When I talked with him some two weeks ago and we met for about an hour and a half on a number of issues. I finally just said to him, ‘Family comes first. You’re getting ready for this vacation. You and your family need to go relax and get away from all the hustle and bustle of being a police chief for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and talk.”

“So they’ve done that,” Suttle said, “and we’re going to be respectful of the decision he made for himself and his family.”

Without getting into specifics, Suttle added there were numerous factors that were taken into account when Hayes made the decision. He also stressed Hayes has done a good job completing what he set out to accomplish when accepting the position two and a half years ago.

“Of course there are other things associated with this,” Suttle said. “What goes on with the financials, what goes on with your time of the day, but, as far as the goals that are set…my goodness, the accomplishments are just a huge success story.”

“Now that he’s set the pace and decided where the bar is, we must continue to do that with the interim chief and whoever becomes the successor in the long run,” Suttle said.

Hayes’ decision follows last year’s pay raise fight before the Omaha City Council which involved Hayes and his top assistants obtaining smaller raises than Suttle had initially recommended. After going without a raise for nearly three years, the council reluctantly agreed, but at half the amount Suttle pushed for.

The Omaha World-Herald reports Hayes will retire with a pension of approximately $127,000, according to calculations provided by the Mayor’s office.

Hayes’ retirement follows 25 years of service with the OPD. Suttle has yet to name Hayes’ replacement, but said he will do so between now and March 30th.

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