COLUMBIA — The Columbia Police Department celebrated two officers' retirements on Friday. Lt. John White and Detective Steve Brown had served 20 and 21 years, respectively.
White served in several positions, including as a school resource officer and as a supervisor of the Professional Standards Unit, now called the Internal Affairs Unit.
“I’ve made my best friends in the world here and I hope everyone stays safe,” White said.
White now works at the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts as a probationary supervisor, the only job that could get him to retire from police work, he said.
“It works perfect with my family life as well,” White said.
For White, one memory of the department sticks out. “I got my picture in the papers a lot, which is something I never expected,” he said.
During Brown's career, he served as a patrol officer, traffic officer, school resource officer, field training officer and instructor. He received a chief’s commendation for his work in the bait car program and three Meritorious Service Ribbons for performing CPR.
“What didn’t you do?” Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton joked to Brown.
For Brown, his proudest moment came while helping to keep the peace during the Nazi parade in 2008. He was stationed at the command post and “saw a city on the edge of coming apart from hatred.”
“Everyone earned their stripes that day,” he said.
Brown also noted it was time for him to move on.
“I felt that I served, and it’s time for me to explore what else life has to offer,” he said.
The department also celebrated the retirement of administrative assistant Carolyn Foster, who has worked with the department since 1998, effective March 12.
Sgt. Timothy Moriarity and Officer Michael Hestir will receive promotions effective March 7, to lieutenant and sergeant, respectively.
As a lieutenant, Moriarity will supervise the southwest sector of Columbia.
“We’re expecting big things from Tim,” Burton said.
Hestir serves as an instructor in firearms, use of force, firearms simulator and defensive tactics.
“You don’t run into police officers who have the passion for training that he does, and whoever replaces him has big shoes to fill,” Burton said.