Chief Watt to retire from SPD

Sherman Police Chief Tom Watt will formally announce his retirement date on Wednesday. He will officially leave the department on Friday, March 15, 2013.

In a short press release issued by the department yesterday, Sgt. D.M. Hampton — the department’s public information officer — said the chief would be ready to make his announcement. Watt started as a police officer and worked his way up to chief during his 31 years with the SPD. He was named head of the Sherman Police force on Sept. 1, 2004.

“As a community, we are truly grateful for Chief Watt’s leadership and service,” Sherman Mayor Cary Wacker said Tuesday.

“He exemplifies the best of law enforcement — his integrity, calm demeanor and high standards have made an imprint on our police department during his 31-year career, and he leaves a great legacy as chief. He will certainly be missed.”

Sherman City Manager George Olson said he knew the chief was contemplating retirement last year, but found out Watt had made the decision when he brought in his official paperwork late last week.

“He’s a pleasure to work with,” Olson said of Watt. “He was a police officer, he always wanted to be a police officer and he was a good manager for the employees because he knew what they were dealing with and going through. He was a pleasure to work with as a city manager because he was open with his communications and kept us aware of what was going on and what his needs were.”

The city manager said no decision had yet been made about Watt’s successor, though he was sure he would be looking at a number of candidates to fill the vacancy.

“Obviously I’m going to look internally as well,” Olson said. “We’ve got two very capable assistant chiefs right now, which makes the hiring process less cumbersome — worrying about whether or not we have anybody to fill the void.”

Assistant Chief Otis Henry currently serves as the Operations Bureau commander and Assistant Chief Ken Francis presently serves as the Administrative Bureau commander.